Birmingham & Black Country

Man jailed for life after killing friend with a rock

Darren Lander Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Darren Lander will serve a minimum term of 15 years and five months

A man who killed his friend with a rock following an argument over stolen money has been jailed for life.

Darren Lander, 28, hit 32-year-old Richard Groves across the head and face with a rock at his home in Warley, West Midlands, on 16 May, after they withdrew money to buy drugs.

Lander, of no fixed abode, admitted murder and was sentenced at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

He will serve a minimum term of 15 years and five months.

The court heard that unemployed Lander had been staying with Mr Groves for a few months and the pair would often take drugs together at Mr Groves' home.

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On the night of the murder, the men visited a cash machine to withdraw money to buy drugs, before returning to the flat.

The court was told that when they returned to the flat, Lander accused his friend of stealing money from his aunt's house. A fight broke out and Lander violently beat Mr Groves, leaving him dead on his bedroom floor at the address in Thompson Road.

Lander left the flat and over the next two days visited friends, calmly confessing to a number of people what he had done.

On 18 May, Lander called his offender manager at West Midlands Police and confessed to killing Mr Groves with a rock and leaving him in the flat. He was later arrested.

Det Insp Warren Hines, from West Midlands Police, said: "Richard Groves offered Lander, who he saw as a friend, a place to stay in a time of need.

"I hope that the sentence brings some comfort to Mr Groves' family."

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