North East Wales

Matthew Cassidy killer guilty of Connah's Quay drugs murder

Matthew James Cassidy
Image caption Matthew Cassidy died after the attack in Connah's Quay

A second man has been convicted of murdering a teenager in a row over selling drugs.

Matthew Cassidy, 19, from Merseyside, died after being stabbed nine times in the stairwell of a block of flats in Connah's Quay, Flintshire, last year.

A jury at Mold Crown Court found Leslie Baines, 48, from Deeside, guilty after a two-week trial.

David Woods, 20, from Liverpool, had denied murder but changed his plea earlier in the hearing.

Mr Cassidy, of Huyton, Knowsley, was stabbed at Bethel Place flats last May.

Jurors had been told that a woman heard a man's voice shouting "I will kill you" followed by a "screech".

The prosecution said Mr Cassidy was a drug dealer operating at Deeside who was stabbed during a dispute over the sale of hard drugs.

Image copyright Andrew Price
Image caption Leslie Baines claimed he was at his mother's home at the time of the murder

Woods initially pleaded not guilty but later admitted murder - while his co-defendant Baines continued to claim he was innocent.

Two men matching their description were seen leaving the block of flats moments after Mr Cassidy was found.

Forensic scientists said the fatal wound to the teenager's chest, which pierced his heart, happened on the ground floor - after he had fallen or been dragged down a flight of stairs.

Woods, the leader of a rival drugs gang, admitted murder four days into the trial and intending to pervert the course of justice by providing police with false telephone evidence in a bid to blame it all on Baines.

Baines denied knowing Mr Cassidy and being at the flats, claiming his trainers could not have made the marks found at the scene.

The prosecution told jurors it was not precisely known whether Baines was physically involved in stabbing Mr Cassidy or whether he was there providing Woods with support.

It had been suggested at one stage during the trial that he was the "muscle" and his role may have been to prevent Mr Cassidy from getting away.

Baines, who has a dozen convictions for violence, was told he and Woods faced life sentences and the judge will now have to decide the minimum term they will have to serve before they can be considered for release.

They will both be sentenced on 21 May.

More on this story