(JollofNews) – Three men have been found guilty of being involved in the murder of Sheriff Mbye after a dispute over the sale of a mobile phone turned to tragedy.
The 19-year-old’s death on 17 April, after being stabbed several times on Bristol Road South during rush hour, highlights the dangers of carrying knives in public, often in the misguided belief that they are for protection.
Sheriff went to Northfield that day with friends Rakeem Riley and Omar Robinson allegedly to buy fishing knives, but a chance encounter with Montell Stephens sparked a chain of events that would leave Mbye dead and Stephens fighting for his life.
Sheriff had bought a secondhand phone from Stephens sometime before, but was dissatisfied with the quality of his purchase and wanted his money back. Stephens had already spent the cash and the pair had fought over the deal.
As Mbye walked along Bristol Road South with Riley and Robinson, they spotted Stephens coming out of a local barber shop. A scuffle broke out and Stephens ran across the road. The other three ran back to their white Audi which was parked nearby and drove around the corner into Lockwood Road.
Detective Inspector Jim Munro, from force CID, explained: “This is where events turned to tragedy as Mbye jumped out of the car and the fighting continued.
“Stephens was armed with a knife, as he feared for his safety following the recent fight, and CCTV captured him lunging at Mbye.
“One of the recently purchased knives was used to injure Stephens, who ran back to the barber shop and collapsed on the floor, after dumping his knife and a pair of latex gloves behind a nearby shop.
“Fortunately a member of the public was able to administer first aid, which no doubt helped save his life.
“Mbye sadly, was not so fortunate. Riley bundled him into the Audi and Robinson drove him to hospital, where he died a short while later.”
Stephens, aged 19 of William Savage Way, Smethwick, was found guilty of Sheriff’s murder after a four-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court today (Monday 9 November).
Riley, aged 19 of no fixed address; and 21-year-old Robinson, of Rann Close, Ladywood, were found guilty of aiding and abetting the offence.
Riley and Robinson were also convicted of wounding with intent against Stephens. Both charges were under the doctrine of joint enterprise as they were found to have encouraged the fight and were involved in facilitating the incident.
The jury took just over 17 hours to reach their decision and all three will be sentenced on Wednesday (11 November).
Inspector Munro added: “Our sympathies remain with Sheriff’s family as they have, no doubt, had to relive the trauma of losing him again throughout this trial, but I hope that the conviction today brings them some comfort.
“Sadly the truth is that had these men not been carrying knives they may well have had a bit of a dust up and most likely walked away with a few cuts and bruises; who knows, it may well have settled their differences.
“But carrying a knife, or indeed anything that could be used as a weapon, is a game changer: if you set foot in public with a knife you not only endanger other people’s lives but also your own. If someone with a knife gets caught up in a row or scuffle there’s every chance that knife could be used to injure or kill − and may well be used against the carrier.
“Anyone using a knife in anger can expect to waste much of their life behind bars.”
Source: West Midlands Police