Headingley killer Mohammed Fike Butt to be sentenced for murder after judge rejects his application to change guilty pleas

A murderer who killed a man and attempted to seriously injure two others will be sentenced tomorrow after a judge rejected his application to vacate his guilty pleas.

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 5:16 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 5:18 pm

Mohammed Fike Butt pleaded guilty to murdering Jason Llanwarne midway through his trial at Leeds Crown Court last month.

The 32-year-old also pleaded guilty to two counts of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent to Dean Ward and Scott Chalders during the same incident on North Lane, Headingley, on September 14 last year.

Butt was due to be sentenced on March 31 but the hearing had to be adjourned after Butt made an application to vacate his guilty pleas.

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Mohammed Fike Butt will be sentenced for murder after being refused permission to vacate guilty pleas.

The defendant made the application on the basis that he had been pressured into entering the pleas by his own legal team.

Mr Justice Jacobs today refused Butt permission to vacate his pleas after a hearing in which counsel who represented him at the trial gave evidence to the court.

During the hearing, prosecutor Stephen Wood QC suggested Butt had changed his pleas to guilty during the trial as his "lying account" became "simply untenable" before the jury.

He said: "This defendant, who is not an unintelligent man, reflected upon the evidence and reflected upon his chances of acquittal and his chances of parole and asked his legal advisers to approach the Crown to discuss the issue of pleas.

Mr Wood added: "I respectfully submit that there is no evidence to suggest that any of Mr Butt's legal advisers behaved inappropriately or unprofessionally.

"On the contrary, they did everything they could to ensure that Mr Butt had time to reflect."

Butt will be sentenced tomorrow morning (April 23).

During the trial, jurors heard how Butt laughed as he drove his car over Mr Llanwarne's body as he lay prone on the pavement after being deliberately knocked down.

Butt then went to a takeaway and ordered himself a portion of cheesy chips moments after causing the fatal injuries.

Prosecutors said Butt carried out the attack to teach the three men "a lesson" during a dispute over drugs.

The court was shown CCTV footage of Butt getting into his car after a fight with the men on North Lane.

Footage of the attack in which Butt used his car "as a weapon" was played in court.

Mr Wood described how Butt first drove his car at Mr Chalders and Mr Ward, causing injuries to Mr Chalder's leg.

The defendant's Mazda then re-joined the carriageway before turning around, mounting the pavement again and driving at all three men.

Mr Llanwarne was struck and carried on the bonnet before falling to the floor.

Butt then turned the vehicle around and drove at the men a third time despite his windscreen being smashed.

Mr Wood said a wheel was deliberately driven over Mr Llanwarne while his friends were trying to pull his limp body out of the way.

Butt, of Cross Flatts Avenue, Beeston, abandoned his car behind a nearby takeaway and called a taxi.

Mr Wood said: "He went into Dino's takeaway where - you may think seemingly unconcerned by what occurred - he bought himself some cheesy chips."

The incident happened shortly before 10.30pm.

Mr Wood said Llanwarne had been in contact with Butt earlier in the evening to arrange to buy drugs from him.

Jurors were told Mr Llanwarne and his two friends were drug users.

CCTV footage from the area showed Mr Llanwarne getting into the Mazda with Butt and an unknown male.

Mr Wood said: "It seems. . .a dispute erupted while Jason was inside the car."

Moments later, Butt and the other male were captured on the footage fighting with Mr Llanwarne in the street.

Mr Llanwarne was punched hard in the face by Butt and knocked to the floor.

Mr Ward and Mr Chalders then ran to help their friend.

Butt went to his car and drove at the men seconds later.

Mr Llanwarne suffered multiple injuries to his head and body and was declared dead at Leeds General Infirmary.

A pathologist said his death was caused by a tear to an artery in his neck.