Adrian Keeling KC leading Andrew Wallace prosecuted 3 men responsible for the death of drug dealer Jamie Benbow in Handsworth Wood.

Calvin McLeod (38), who was himself a drug dealer, betrayed his “friend” Jamie Benbow by arranging for Jerome Christie (27), to rob Benbow of his modest quantity of drugs and cash. Ravelle Hutchinson (26), whom Christie recruited, joined Christie to carry out the robbery.

The plan was to use really serious harm if necessary, and when Benbow refused to hand over his drugs and money, he was attacked with knives.  Christie delivered the fatal blow.  Receiving 18 sharp wound injuries including one fatal blow to the chest, Benbow collapsed and died as he tried to seek help from neighbours.

Christie and Hutchinson disposed of the murder weapon and then went to Hutchinson’s home to count out the few hundred pounds they had stolen.

McLeod denied any involvement, but despite his efforts to hide out of sight, CCTV showed his car meeting up with Christie, who had driven down from Derbyshire, and taking him on a reconnaissance drive to show Benbow’s house before the killing.  Then he let Christie know when Benbow was on his way home from a public house, so Christie and Hutchinson knew when to get out of their car, parked nearby, to confront him when he was back in his house.

Whilst there was no plan to murder and McLeod was not even present, the Prosecution were able to show that there was a conditional intent with all 3 of them to do really serious harm to Benbow if he resisted the robbery, as he was bound to do, and that the robbery was orchestrated by McLeod.

All these 3 were used to carrying weapons.  Indeed, when Christie was arrested, he had another knife on him.  And McLeod was on licence at the time of the murder, for striking a man over the head with a hammer causing him very serious injuries over a disagreement about a garage bill.

On Friday 13th October 13th 2023, all the Defendants received life sentences.

McLeod, the organiser, must serve a minimum of 26 years. Christie, who delivered the fatal blow, must serve a minimum of 28 years. Hutchinson, must serve a minimum of 25 years.