Teen must spend at least 20 years behind bars for Leeds baseball bat murder

A TEENAGE murderer was told he must spend a minimum of 20 years behind bars for killing a man with a baseball bat during a burglary.

Wednesday, 19th September 2018, 1:10 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th September 2018, 2:07 pm

Declan Bickerdike, 19, was detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure after being found guilty of murdering Clifford Amoh at his home in Leeds.

Bickerdike used the weapon to inflict horrific head injuries after forcing his way into Mr Amoh’s home with a gang to steal cannabis plants.

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Declan Bickerdike.

Leeds Crown Court heard the 29-year-old Marks and Spencer worker had received threats on Facebook days before the attack that his door was going to be kicked in and he would be killed.

Bickerdike, aged 17 at the time of the incident, and four other men kicked their way into the property on Coldcotes Crescent, Gipton, at 2am on May 7, 2016.

The group had met up beforehand to plan the burglary.

The four men went upstairs in search of the plants while Bickerdike remained downstairs.

Jurors heard that it was likely that Mr Amoh was laid on a settee in the lounge when Bickerdike used a baseball bat to strike three heavy blows to the head.

Sentencing Bickerdike, Judge Tom Bayliss, QC, said the online threats may explain why Mr Amoh had a Samurai sword and a baseball bat in the property.

He told the defendant: “While the other four went upstairs to steal the cannabis plants you went in to the downstairs sitting room where you encountered Clifford Amoh on the sofa.

“You could have left. There was an open door to the sitting room.

“There was an open door to the house. Instead you armed yourself with a baseball bat that was to hand.

“If Clifford Amoh had picked up that Samurai sword it was to defend himself from you.

“He did no more than attempt to unsheathe it before you hit him for the first time.

“He would have been incapacitated by the blow.

“I am quite sure that he posed no threat to you but you hit him again.

“I completely reject self defence as mitigation.”

Bickerdike, formerly of High Ash Crescent, Alwoodley, was also found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent over an attack on a fellow inmate while he was being held in custody in Doncaster.

Bickerdike attacked Christopher Sanderson by pouring a kettle of boiling water over him as he slept on July 22, 2016.

Mr Sanderson woke up in “excruciating” pain and suffered burn injuries to his chest arms and back.

Bickerdike later told officers he had inflicted the injuries as he felt his cellmate was a threat to him.

Bickerdike also told a nurse that he had “dared” himself to pour boiling water over Mr Sanderson.

Detective Superintendent Nicola Bryar, of West Yorkshire Police Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said: “Bickerdike, along with the others previously convicted, broke into Clifford Amoh’s house to steal from him. His murder was the result of a completely unnecessary attack by Bickerdike as he lay defenceless on his sofa.

“Clifford’s family have been left utterly devastated at his death in such sudden and violent circumstances and we hope it will provide some degree of comfort to them to know that those involved in the incident have now been brought to justice.

“It was clear from the many tributes and flowers laid at the scene at the time and the large number of people that attended his funeral that Clifford was someone who was well-liked and popular in the area and he will be very sadly missed by all who knew him.”