"This was a brutal, savage and frenzied attack"
Naeem Mustafa, aged 46, of Nelson, Lancashire, was jailed for life after he carried out a “barbaric” attack upon his victim.
Preston Crown Court heard that he inflicted an agonising death upon Michael Brierley.
Prosecutor Paul Reid QC said that in the early hours of November 8, 2021, Mustafa repeatedly attacked Mr Brierley with various weapons.
This included part of a metal bed frame.
Mr Brierley was pronounced dead in his Nelson bungalow after his partner, Jeannie Wright, called 999.
But by this stage, Mustafa had fled to his mother’s house to get changed before withdrawing cash to buy crack cocaine and visiting a pub with friends.
Police tracked him down a few hours later and arrested him on suspicion of murdering Mr Brierley and assaulting Ms Wright.
It was heard that the victim suffered 164 separate injuries, with a coroner saying that the 48-year-old’s organs were found “relatively bloodless”.
Jurors were told how Mustafa had exercised control over Mr Brierley and Ms Wright, using their home as a base for drug-taking, drinking and sex with several different women.
Mustafa had also been getting the victim’s benefits paid into his bank account, something which “demonstrated the level of power he held” over the vulnerable man.
Mustafa was found guilty of assault and murder.
Jodie Clough, who stood trial alongside Mustafa charged with assisting an offender, was acquitted.
The Honourable Mr Justice Barry Cotter told Mustafa:
“Michael Brierley suffered an agonising death at your hands, for no reason whatsoever. Your attack was as senseless as it was barbaric.
“As for mitigation, I take into account all that Mr Wright QC has said on your behalf, however, I cannot see any mitigation.
“This was not a momentary loss of control, it was a vicious, ferocious and sustained attacked which took real effort to kill a man.”
Mustafa was jailed for life and will serve a minimum term of 27 years.
After sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Al Davies said:
“Michael and his partner had been subjected to months of abuse at the hands of Naeem Mustafa.
“That abuse includes intimidation, bullying, physical and financial abuse.
“In effect Mustafa had taken over the whole lives of Michael and his partner – this is often referred to as cuckooing.”
“The violence which was shown to Michael progressed over a significant number of months and culminated on November 8 with him being sustaining 164 injuries.
“This was a brutal, savage and frenzied attack which resulted in unsurvivable injuries.
“What Michael went through I cannot even imagine. But today I feel and the family feel, that justice has been served.
“We feel the sentence today reflects the horrific nature of the offences and also the danger that Mustafa represents.”
Junior prosecution barrister in the case, Emma Kehoe, said:
“Naeem Mustafa is a violent bully who exercised control over Mr Brierley and his partner in their own home.
“He visited their home, often with strangers, taking it over as if it was his own. If they did not let him in he would threaten to break down the door.
“He took control of their money and had previously assaulted them both on a number of occasions.
“That fateful day last year his violence escalated to the point that he inflicted fatal injuries on Mr Brierley and when his partner tried to help, she was knocked to the floor resulting in a black eye and a bleed on the brain.
“In police interview, Mustafa claimed he was not a violent man, but we presented strong evidence to the jury, including CCTV, telephony and forensic evidence, and they agreed with the prosecution case and found Mustafa guilty of the offences he faced.
“Our thoughts are very much the family and friends of Mr Brierley who are mourning him.
“We hope that as Naeem Mustafa begins his prison sentence they will feel that justice has been served.”