During a hearing held at Sheffield Crown Court today, Bradley Onfroy, 32, was sentenced to life in prison, to serve a minimum of 33-years, for the murder of Jordan Hill.
His accomplice, Josie Hollis, of no fixed abode, was sentenced to 15-years for her part in Mr Hill’s death, after she pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter.
Despite arguments to the contrary from their barristers, Judge Peter Kelson QC told the pair he believed they were both involved in ‘extensive and significant planning’ of the robbery, and subsequent murder, of Mr Hill at his home in Southey Avenue, Southey on March 23 last year.
He described the violence used in the fatal attack as 'gratuitous and brutal'.
The court heard how in the moments leading up to the murder, Mr Hill had been selling drugs from the living room window of his ground floor flat.
Onfroy, 32, ‘held back’ as Mr Hill aged 21, completed drug deals with two men who had come to his window, and then jumped through.
Judge Kelson told Onfroy, who was convicted of murder and robbery after a trial: “You believed your victim to be a drug dealer and you were determined to steal money and any drugs that he might have from him. You forced your way into Jordan Hill’s home and easily overcame his efforts to stop you getting in; you were armed with a knife; you pursued him through his home, eventually cornering him.”
Mr Hill suffered several stab wounds in the attack, and died 45-minutes later in hospital.
He leaves behind a daughter, who is now four-years-old.
Describing Hollis’ role in Mr Hill’s death, Judge Kelson added: “You did not enter Jordan Hill’s house, you were in the getaway vehicle outside Mr Hill’s, awaiting Mr Onfroy’s return, and no doubt expecting a share of the stolen goods.
"You probably provided vital information to Mr Onfroy concerning Jordan Hill’s activities and whereabouts and you otherwise played a full role in the enterprise to rob him by force if necessary.”
Just four days before the attack on Mr Hill, Onfroy, Hollis and Ashley Howarth, an associate of theirs, robbed another Sheffield drug dealer on March 19.
Prosecutor, Samuel Green QC, said Hollis, 24, knew the man, and after he answered the door to her Onfroy and Howarth, 30, of no fixed abode, burst in, armed with knives, and robbed him for drugs, money and his mobile telephone.
The man was left with stab wounds to his left leg and left bicep, the court heard. Judge Kelson told the court that these offences highlight the ever present dangers of drug dealing.
He said: “If ever anybody needed to see the dangers, over and above being caught by the police, of being involved in the drugs trade - these cases set it out clearly.”
For the second robbery charge, to which all three defendants pleaded guilty, Onfroy received a 15-year sentence, to run concurrently with his life term, while Hollis received a 12-year sentence, also to run concurrently to her manslaughter sentence.
Howarth, of no fixed abode, received a 13-year prison sentence for two offences of robbery, including the one carried out alongside Onfroy and Hollis.
The second robbery took place on July 2 last year, when Howarth robbed a man for his Â£3,000 motorbike as he was stopped at a set of traffic lights in East Bank Road, Heeley.
During today's sentencing hearing, Judge Kelson stopped proceedings to remark upon the behaviour of Hollis in the dock, after she was seen laughing and joking with the other two defendants.
He said: "Her behaviour in public view, speaks of no remorse. There is laughter and conversations. I'm sure the family of the deceased will be disgusted. I thought I would put you [defence counsel] on notice. Their behaviour is bordering on repulsive."
Defending Hollis, David Brooke QC, said Hollis' behaviour in the dock was indicative of her 'immaturity' and 'nervousness' and did not reflect the remorse she feels for Mr Hill's death, which she had demonstrated through her guilty plea.
Kama Melly QC, mitigating for Onfroy, told the court that while she accepted some degree of planning had gone into the attack on Mr Hill, it could not be regarded as 'significant'.
Andrew Jepson, defending Howarth, said his inevitable custodial sentence would not only cost him his liberty, but also the ability to be there for significant milestones his seven-year-old son's life.