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A man has today been jailed for life for the murder of Billy Pearson in the grounds of a church in Chesterfield.
Melusi Madaweni was found guilty of murder last Wednesday (15 February) following a trial at Derby Crown Court.
Officers were called at 12.55am on Sunday 7 August 2022 by town centre CCTV operators to reports of a man in the town centre wearing just trousers and a face covering.
During the trial it was heard how they had been alerted by staff at a bar nearby who had refused him entry due to concerns he may have been carrying a screwdriver.
Four minutes later, Madaweni of Chester Street, was stopped by officers running near to Chesterfield Parish Church, the Crooked Spire.
The 30-year-old, who was 29 at the time, told police that someone had tried to attack him, and that he had taken the screwdriver from them.
Billy Pearson was then discovered in the church yard. He was unconscious and had suffered a deep wound to the back of his ear.
A balaclava and a screwdriver were found by officers just a few yards away. Madaweni was arrested.
Billy, who was 26-years-old, died almost a week later in hospital. The wound was so deep it had penetrated his brain and was too severe for him to recover.
Madaweni denied murder, but he has today been jailed for life, and was told he must serve a minimum of 25 years.
Detective Inspector Steve Shaw led the investigation into Billy’s death. Speaking after Madaweni’s conviction last week 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.”