Three men who stabbed Sheffield father Jarvin Blake to death, leaving him to die in the street, have today (Friday 10 May) been found guilty of causing his death.
Caine Gray, 27, of Treetown Crescent, Rotherham was found guilty of murder by a jury, following a four-week trial at Sheffield Crown Court, for the death of Mr Blake in March last year.
Josiah Foster, 26, of Wordsworth Crescent, Sheffield, was found guilty of manslaughter while Devon Walker, 25, of Ellesmere Road North, Sheffield, was found guilty of manslaughter and assault.
A fourth man, 27-year-old Lewis Barker, of North Hill Road, Sheffield, entered a guilty plea to murder at the start of the trial.
On the afternoon of Thursday 8 March 2018, 22-year-old Jarvin Blake and his friend, a 24-year-old man, were both attacked by a group of men on Brackley Street in the Burngreave area of the city.
Mr Blake was rushed to hospital in a critical condition but died shortly after as a result of a stab wound to his chest. The other man was taken to hospital to be treated for injuries to his leg, sustained as part of the assault.
A murder investigation was launched, led by Detective Chief Inspector Steve Handley, and work began to find Mr Blake’s killers.
DCI Handley, the Senior Investigating Officer, explains: “To identify those involved in Mr Blake’s death and bring them before the courts, we have had a dedicated team of detectives working tirelessly over the last 13-months, carrying out an in-depth investigation.
“This ultimately led to us identifying the four men as suspects and establishing their movements in the run up to the attack on Mr Blake.
“Through extensive and exhaustive telecoms, CCTV and analytical work, we were able to piece together a timeline of their movements, who they were speaking to and where they had travelled to that day.
“This enabled us to determine that Walker had been with the victim just prior to the attack, while Foster, Gray and Barker travelled in Foster’s car to Brackley Street.”
At around 3.05pm on 8 March 2018, Mr Blake was walking towards Brackley Street, with his friend and Walker. Shortly after arriving on Brackley Street, a blue Volvo pulled up, with the occupants getting out.
On seeing the men exiting the car, Mr Blake and his friend started to run. What followed was a fight in which Mr Blake was stabbed once in the chest, suffering additional slash and stab wounds to his arm and head. Despite medical assistance from members of the public and then ambulance staff, he was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at hospital.
A post-mortem examination concluded that he died as a result of a single stab wound to his chest, with the knife used piercing his heart.
His friend tried to run but was hit over the head with a concrete paving slab, which was later found to have Walker’s DNA on. He was taken to hospital to be treated for serious injuries but discharged a day later and has since made a full recovery.
DCI Handley continued: “Immediately we began speaking to people in the area, reviewing CCTV footage and images linked to ANPR cameras.
"Ultimately though, all four men have played a part in robbing three young children of a life with their father.
“I hope that his partner, friends and family can take some solace in knowing that today, justice has been served and all four men are facing significant time behind bars."
-DCI Steve Handley
“We quickly identified that the blue Volvo, registered to Foster, had left the area at speed and begun travelling towards Parson Cross.”
In the minutes following Mr Blake’s death, the men attempted to cover up their movements, using multiple phones and swapping sim cards.
Detectives undertook hundreds of hours of work to establish the phone numbers of the suspects, and then assess which phone masts these numbers had been linked to in the area.
“Before, during and after the murder, mobile phones attributed to Barker, Foster and Walker were all active in the Brackley Street area. After putting this to them in interview, they were forced to admit they had been in the area at the time,” added DCI Handley.
“Despite the fact that some had separate phones and were using dual sims for the same handsets, our phone work continued at pace and we were able to trace their movements and build a strong case.”
The four men were charged with Mr Blake’s murder in August of last year and have been remanded since.
DCI Handley said: “The four of them had a plan and worked together to orchestrate Mr Blake’s death. While none of the defendants have ever given a clear indication of who was responsible for delivering the fatal blow to Mr Blake, the likelihood is that the incident was as a result of a build-up of violence amongst the circles they associated with and the dealing of drugs.
“Ultimately though, all four men have played a part in robbing three young children of a life with their father.
“I hope that his partner, friends and family can take some solace in knowing that today, justice has been served and all four men are facing significant time behind bars.
“This has been an extremely complex investigation in which we have faced numerous challenges. That said, we’ve never given up and kept Mr Blake’s family at the forefront of our minds.”
All four men have been remanded into custody to be sentenced at a later date.
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