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Man convicted of frenzied knife murder

GUILTY: Sherzad Muhamed

GUILTY: Sherzad Muhamed

VICTIM: Richard Cromarty

VICTIM: Richard Cromarty

A 29-year-old Iraqi Kurd has been found guilty of murdering a pensioner in a frenzied knife attack in Maidstone.

Sherzad Muhamed had denied being responsible for the death of 67-year-old Richard Cromarty in July last year.

Mr Cromerty died from more than 20 knife wounds that had been inflicted on him at flats at 67 Kingsley Road. The attack was so ferocious that ribs were fractured. The fatal wound was 10-12cm deep and penetrated Mr Cromerty's heart.

Muhamed, who denied murder, was discovered asleep on the step of a nearby post office after the street was cordoned off by police.

He later claimed during his trial at Maidstone Crown Court that he was sleeping rough at the time and that another Iraqi had once brandished a knife at the flats.

He said he had lived at the flats for a year but left shortly before Mr Cromerty was murdered and had never returned.

But Muhamed, of no fixed address, was found guilty by the jury after hearing evidence that a mixture of Muhamed's blood and Mr Cromerty's was found on cars parked nearby.

The court heard during the trial that there was no apparent motive for the killing. Mr Cromerty had lived at the flats for several years and, said Alan Kent, prosecuting, had led a "solitary and lonely life".

Mr Cromerty's dying words were captured on a security film. Indicating a large carving knife he said: "Help me, help me. Been stabbed. Help. It's that Iraqi - just stabbed me with this."

The court heard that as well as the blood on parked cars, Mr Cromerty's blood was also found on Muhamed's trouser pocket. When arrested and interviewed by the police Muhamed was told of the DNA evidence. He claimed he was being set up.

He added that he was walking about in the area on the night of the murder but did not go to the flats.

After the verdict, Judge Warwick McKinnon told Muhamed he faced a mandatory life sentence but was adjourning for psychiatric reports on the basis that they may affect the minimum term he will have to serve before being considered for parole.

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