John Wright killing: Drug dealers sentenced for 'fake cash' attack

Image source, Cleveland Police
Image caption,
Jordan Vaughan (left) and Kienan Johnson were described as a "callous pair" who showed no remorse

Two men have been jailed for the "punishment" killing of a man who bought crack cocaine from them using a fake bank note.

Kienan Johnson, 22, beat John Wright with a baton before Jordan Vaughan, 21, stabbed him in Stockton in 2019.

Appearing at Teesside Crown Court, Vaughan was given life for murder and ordered to serve a minimum of 21 years.

Johnson, who was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter, was given 11 years and six months.

Image source, Cleveland Police
Image caption,
John Wright suffered multiple injuries but the fatal blow came from Vaughan's knife

Judge Stephen Ashurst said the pair had set upon their vulnerable victim on 29 December in Parliament Street with the intention of harming him while he was "outnumbered and unarmed."

He said: "The behaviour of you both was callous. Afterwards you exchanged a fist-bump, disposed of the weapons and set up camp in a takeaway."

He added that the 41-year-old Mr Wright had been vulnerable because of his drug addiction and that his death had caused a lot of pain to his family.

He said neither man had "shown remorse" for the crime.

Image source, Cleveland Police
Image caption,
Vaughan (nearest the door) and Johnson exchanged a "fist-bump" in a fish and chip shop after the killing

The trial heard that Johnson, of Windsor Road in Stockton, had hit Mr Wright several times with a baton after he paid the pair with a fake £20 note.

Vaughan, of Harlow Crescent in Thornaby, claimed Mr Wright then came at him with a brick so he stabbed him in the back in self defence, but that was rejected by jurors.

The court heard that although he suffered multiple injuries, it was the knife wound in the back that killed Mr Wright.

Image source, Family handout
Image caption,
John Wright's family described him as "wonderful, funny and kind"

Reading an impact statement to the court, the victim's niece Rebecca Heslop said her family would never get over their loss.

She said: "My uncle was a wonderful, funny and kind man and always telling funny stories.

"He was no angel and we had tried to help him, but over time we came to accept that drugs were part of his life.

"My family has been changed forever knowing that he was stabbed in broad daylight and then left to die."

Det Ch Insp Sarah Robinson of Cleveland Police said: "I would like to commend John's family and the witnesses for their bravery throughout the trial process and prior to the trial.

"It has been nearly a year since John was murdered and finally Jordan and Kienan have been brought to justice."

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