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Four convicted of Maidstone drugs war killing of Wesley Adyinka in Knightrider Street

Four men have been jailed for a total of 83 years after killing a rival amid a war for control of drug dealing in a town.

The jury at Maidstone Crown Court were previously told the killing was a "cruel and deliberate retribution" committed during a battle over who controlled supply in Maidstone.

Police stand at the entrance to Chaucer House, Knightrider Street, Maidstone, during a visit from the jury in November
Police stand at the entrance to Chaucer House, Knightrider Street, Maidstone, during a visit from the jury in November

In his final speech on Monday Prosecutor Richard Barraclough QC said: "You may think that these defendants, all of them, knew that to sell and distribute crack and heroin is a truly awful and despicable thing; that crack creates a dependency and that crack and heroin are dangerous for the vulnerable."

But he urged the jury not to judge the men "on emotion, whether a revulsion against county lines London drug dealers, sympathy for the deceased or sadness for wasted youth."

Kevin Roach, 40, of Peace Close, South Croydon; Alfie Caparn, 18, from Streatham, south London; Rodney Harris, 38, of Mann Close, Croydon; and Julian Grant, 28, of Tull Street, Mitcham had all denied murdering Wesley Adyinka in Knightrider Street, Maidstone, at midnight on February 9 last year and wounding his lover Amanda Francis with intent.

But after 12 hours of deliberation all four were convicted of killing Mr Adyinka. Roach, who refused to leave his cell to hear the verdict, was found guilty of murder and the other three defendants were convicted on manslaughter.

Caparn, Harris and Grant sat in the dock in handcuffs to hear the jury's verdicts.

Amanda Francis and Wesley Adyinka
Amanda Francis and Wesley Adyinka

They were all cleared of GBH regarding the attack on Miss Francis but Roach, Harris and Grant were convicted of unlawful wounding.

Roach was also convicted of possessing an offensive weapon.

The prosecution case was the murder was "all to do with drug dealing and the expansion of drug dealing territories and the desire for power and control in Maidstone by London drug dealers, " Mr Barraclough told the jury.

The trial began in November.

The gang had returned to Maidstone after Caparn had been set on at Chaucer House, Knightrider Street, days earlier and robbed.

Mr Barraclough said: "There followed a trip by the four, at least one armed with a knife, to discover who set the robbery up.

"They enlisted the help of a man with a criminal record for violence.

"Once they found out who had done it, cruel and deliberate retribution followed."

Read more: Jury visit scene of killing

Read more: Wesley Adyinka stabbed in power battle

Read more: Girlfriend of victim 'refused to leave his side'

The prosecutor told the court Roach stabbed Mr Adyinka in the heart before stabbing Francis in the thigh outside Chaucer House.

He added: "The others were part and parcel of the attack by their involvement in arranging it and organising transport to Maidstone.

Officers in Knightrider Street looking for evidence after the killing of Welsey Adyinka
Officers in Knightrider Street looking for evidence after the killing of Welsey Adyinka

"They also enticed Mr Adyinka and Ms Francis to Chaucer House where he was murdered... after the murder all four drove back to their territory in the London area."

Roach had claimed he was acting in self-defence and feared an acid attack.

Referring to the alleged driving forces being the killing the prosecutor previously told the court Grant's attitude to dealing and drug addicts was "devastatingly lacking in any compassion" shown by what he told the jury: "I don't see the point of killing them... as they are killing themselves."

The prosecutor said: "For him and of course for those others involved, the rewards are huge — £1,500 to £2,000 a day.

"That is why Grant has been dealing hard drugs for years and what he says about partying and supplying cocaine to 'happy' people is baloney."

The judge ruled Roach will be jailed for life and is unable to even apply for parole before serving at least 27 years.

Grant was jailed for 20 years and Harris and Caparn for 18 years each. They were convicted of manslaughter and Roach, Harris and Grant were also convicted of wounding Ms Francis.

KMTV report on the case

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