By Neil Hunter U.K. (Darlington and Stockton Times) — AN asylum-seeker who stabbed to death a fellow immigrant at the flat they shared was today jailed for life with a minimum term of 15 years.
Dawit Asmelash was told by a judge that the killing was “particularly horrific” because of the ferocity of the attack on his friend Haileeb Tadesse.
Mr Tadesse, 35, was knifed in the back and through the heart at the home the pair shared in Palm Street, Middlesbrough, on April 4 last year.
Asmelash, 31, denied a charge of murder but was found guilty following a two-week trial at Teesside Crown Court which ended on Monday.
He initially denied being at the flat, but then claimed he had acted in self-defence. He also suggested to a witness that Mr Tadesse had committed suicide. Police today thanked members of the Eritrean and Ethiopian community who helped in the enquiry, and gave evidence during the trial.
Detective Chief Inspector Alastair Simpson, crime manager at Middlesbrough Police, said: “Their evidence has been crucial to the trial. “The investigation team has come to know many of the Eritreans and Ethiopians living in Middlesbrough and we have seen a culture of deeply religious people that believe strongly in dignity and respect for others. Dawit Asmelash is not representative of this culture.”
He added: “There was no excuse for this violence and the jury has seen through Dawit Asmelash and his attempt to justify his actions.”
Mr Tadesse was found in the lounge of the flat with the blade of a nine-inch knife piercing his heart. The handle of the knife was later found in a nearby yard.