BY TOBY PORTER
Two men who beat and stabbed to death a neighbour who was trying to stop drug dealing in his block have been convicted of murder by unanimous decision.
Ian Tomlin, of Cromwell House in Charlotte Despard Avenue, Battersea was beaten over the head with the baseball bat he himself had brought to confront the two men, who also stabbed him in the neck.
Gary Beech, 48, also of Cromwell House, Charlotte Despard Avenue, Battersea and Michael Swan, 45, of Enterprise Way, Wandsworth, were found guilty on May 8 at the Old Bailey of the murder of the 46-year-old.
Beech and Mr Tomlin were neighbours, and Swan, a close friend of Beech, was a regular visitor to the block. Mr Tomlin believed the pair were dealing drugs from there and they often rowed amid a long-running feud, spanning many months before the attack.
Mr Tomlin returned home shortly after 5.20pm on October 17 to find Beech and Swan meeting in a communal area on the first floor landing of the building.
A witness told the court how Mr Tomlin had armed himself with a baseball bat and chain and CCTV footage captured Swan and Ian fighting, with Beech intervening.
Mr Tomlin was then overpowered and struck on the head a number of times with the baseball bat he brought to the confrontation – and stabbed repeatedly in the neck. Beech and Swan then left the block, Swan carrying what appeared to be the baseball bat.
Police arrived on the scene shortly after the assault, and found Mr Tomlin lying on the floor of the first floor communal lift area. He had suffered fatal wounds to the back of his head and neck and, despite the efforts of emergency services, was pronounced dead at the scene.
A post-mortem gave the cause of death as a blunt force trauma to the head and stab wounds to the neck. Detectives from the Homicide and Major Crime Command analysed CCTV footage and identified Beech and Swan as the men who had brutally assaulted Mr Tomlin and left him for dead.
Detective Inspector Jo Sidaway, from the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “These men acted together in a brutal assault leading to Ian’s tragic death.
“They overpowered Ian and began an excessively violent attack on him, no doubt because he was again confronting them about their criminal activities.
“I hope this conviction brings some measure of comfort to Ian’s family.
“The verdict shows that we will not tolerate violence on London’s streets and officers will pursue and bring anyone who incites such brutal and horrific acts to justice.”
Both have been remanded in custody and appear for sentencing today at the same court.