Four men guilty of the killing of a Kettering man have been sentenced to 10 years in jail for manslaughter but the fatal attack may have involved two or four other assailants.
The defendants, Babacarr Sylva, 32, of Ladysmith Street, Nottingham; Kausu Ceesay, 24, of King Charles Court, Kingstanding, Birmingham; Clever Makande, 24, from Birmingham; and Ngange Sowe, 30, of Kings Road, Birmingham, were all found guilty of manslaughter on May 2.
They had originally been charged with the murder of Gambian national Tairu Jallow, 29, who was "swiftly and brutally killed" in his home.
"What happened in Havelock Street was horrendous. The inhabitants of the house failed to prevent three hooded and disguised men from gaining entry via the back garden," said Judge Rupert Mayo during the sentencing today (May 17) at Northampton Crown Court.
"Mr Jallow begged in Wolof and English not to be attacked, but he was.
"He received 13 separate wounds and probably more than one knife was used.
"He had defensive injuries on his arms and hands; he was unarmed.
"A black holdall was taken from him."
"I am sure that each and every one of the four here today would have been aware of the scale of the operation, involving as it did six or possibly eight men," he added.
"In order to overcome the inhabitants - and there were at least six people in the house at the time - the plan must have included weapons.
"The previous visits to Kettering, the gathering of at least six people, the reconnoitre carried out that night, the rapid and efficient exit and the meeting at Sowe's home address afterwards of six of the players all combine to prove beyond any doubt that this was a planned event and not spontaneous escalation of violence.
"I regard the fact that this attack was based on the trade in cannabis as an aggravating factor.
"The conclusion that one illegal business operation wished to disrupt another by force is inescapable."
Sylva, who served with the Grenadier Guards, was also sentenced to an additional seven months after pleading guilty to possession with intent to supply of just under £4,000 worth of cannabis.
Ceesay, who was identified as one of the two men trying to get into the front of Mr Jallow's house, received an added three months imprisonment for pleading guilty to possession of a lock knife.
Judge Mayo told the court Sowe had fulfilled the role of coordinator of the attack.
His flat in Kingstanding, east of Birmingham city centre, "was a meeting point before and after the trip which led to the killing of Mr Jallow".
The get-together after the assault "was a meeting of all four defendants, T-Boy and Tiny at Sowe's address in Kingstanding".
"Sowe travelled to Kettering on January 14 with Makande and left the town with Sowe in Sylva's BMW with T-Boy," said Judge Mayo.
"I am satisfied that it was T-Boy who left Mr Jallow's blood in the rear of the BMW."
Makande's role was to carry out a recognisance mission in his Audi convertible.
"On the night of the attack, the car was again parked near Mr Jallow's front door facing towards Wellington Street," said Judge Mayo.
"The engine was ticking over; no lights in or out.
"Makande and one other man described as black were in the front hunched down in their seats."
The men will serve up to half of their sentences in custody and remain on licence thereafter for the remainder of their term.