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A man has been found guilty of killing another man in the grounds of a Chesterfield church.
Melusi Madaweni, of Chester Street in Chesterfield, has today been convicted of murder following a trial at Derby Crown Court.
At 12.55am on Sunday 7 August 2022 town centre CCTV operators alerted police officers to a man who was in the area wearing just his trousers and a face covering.
They had in turn been contacted by a nearby bar who had refused him entry, believing he may have been carrying a screwdriver.
Just four minutes later officers stopped the 30-year-old, who had been 29 at the time, running near to Chesterfield Parish Church, the Crooked Spire. He told police that someone had tried to attack him, and that he had taken the screwdriver from them.
Officers then discovered Billy Pearson, unconscious on the floor of the church yard. Billy had suffered a deep wound to the back of his ear, and he was rushed to hospital.
A balaclava and a screwdriver were found by officers just a few yards away. Madaweni was arrested.
At hospital, the wound was found to have penetrated Billy’s brain, and almost a week later his family, supported by doctors, had to make the decision to turn off his life support. The 26-year-old didn’t survive.
Madaweni denied the offence, but he found guilty at a hearing today. He is due to be sentenced on Monday 20 February.
Detective Inspector Steve Shaw led the investigation into Billy’s death. He said: “This was a tragic loss of life; Billy Pearson had been doing what many people do and been for an evening out socialising with his friends.
“At the end of the night, Billy had a chance encounter with Melusi Madaweni, an argument occurred, and a small fight broke out. That should have been the end of it.
“Madaweni though chose to go home, arm himself with two screwdrivers and returned to the town centre with the intent to seek out Mr Pearson and cause him serious harm. It shows how a simple tool can be used as a fatal weapon.”
DI Shaw added: “As always, a guilty verdict can never bring a loved one back, but I do hope it goes a little way towards providing some justice for Billy’s family and friends.”