A man has been jailed for murder after phone and DNA evidence provided a link to a fatal stabbing in Stoke-on-Trent.
Alan Martyn, aged 45, of no fixed address, was jailed for 24 years and three months today (9 February) at Birmingham Crown Court.
He pleaded guilty to the murder of Anas Chergat in Etruria in August 2019, in a hearing on July 28.
His accomplice, Richard Street, aged 30, of no fixed address, was found guilty on 5 October of the murder of Anas, following a trial at Stafford Crown Court. Street will be sentenced at a later date.
The court heard that the men were observed on CCTV trying to dispose of mobile phones that linked them to the crime in a storm drain.
A charging cable at Mr Chergat’s house also bore DNA from Martyn.
Mr Chergat, 26, who was born in Morocco, had moved to the UK in 2014 and then from London onto Stoke-on-Trent.
Street, who was active in the supply of cannabis and owed approximately £5,000, was under pressure to repay debts and had partnered with Martyn shortly before the murder.
On 22 August 2019 Martyn visited Mr Chergat at his home address in Sandon Street. Martyn admitted to supplying cannabis to him with an expectation of payment at a later date.
At approximately 2pm Martyn and Street went to a local supermarket and bought a mobile phone which was kept by Martyn for use in dealing cannabis.
It is believed that during a visit later that evening an argument took place over the cannabis that had been supplied to Mr Chergat by Martyn.
Street left Martyn with Mr Chergat and sent a series of threatening text messages which were believed to be related to the cannabis deal. The texts are believed to have put further pressure on Martyn, who stabbed Anas Chergat.
On leaving the address Martyn took the victim’s mobile phones, leaving his DNA on a charging cable in the process.
At around 1.30am Street and Martyn were captured on CCTV disposing of the victim’s phones down a storm drain. These phones were subsequently recovered. Through meticulous work the detectives were able to link the phones involved and place the men at the scene.
Anas’s father, Youssef Chergat, paid tribute to his son. “I wanted to see justice done for my son. I now understand what happened to Anas. He was innocent and he could not defend himself as he would never carry a knife.
“I’m so sorry and so sad, but I am grateful to the people in Stoke-on-Trent who spoke up for Anas and who were prepared to be witnesses. They have helped to deliver justice for my son and I thank them for this.”
Detective Inspector Alan Lyford, of Staffordshire Police, said: “We are glad that Martyn and Street have now been convicted for the murder of Anas Chergat and hope this brings some comfort to his family who have had to deal with his loss.
“This was a complex case and detectives worked extremely hard with prosecutors to ensure justice was served. We’re grateful to those people who came forward to help us bring the case before the courts.”
Both had earlier pleaded guilty to supplying cannabis to Mr Chergat, for which Martyn received a concurrent sentence of nine months.
Martyn has already served 315 days of his sentence on remand.