LITTLE HARROWDEN MURDER TRIAL: Crack cocaine and heroin deal led to murder

Stevie Pentelow was stabbed when he went to a crack cocaine and heroin drug deal

Stevie Pentelow, 44, was stabbed in Little Harrowden by a man who he thought he was supplying with Class A drugs, Northampton Crown Court heard yesterday (Tuesday).

Mr Pentelow, who lived in Kettering, was killed in an incident in Little Harrowden on June 21, 2019, when he was stabbed in an attack that lasted just seconds.

Prosecutor Mr David Herbert QC told the court: "There is no dispute that Stevie Pentelow was a drugs dealer.

Stevie Pentelow was supplying Class A drugs on the night he died

"There is a background of drugs to this case."

Four defendants are being tried for conspiring to rob Stevie Pentelow of drugs and for his murder. Two of the men, Sifean Ghilani, 20, and Tristan Patel, 18, have also been charged with supplying Class A drugs to others.

Opening the trial, Mr Herbert said: "The night he was murdered, Stevie Pentelow believed he was about to supply class A drugs to one of the defendants, Sifean Ghilani, who travelled to Little Harrowden to meet him."

The court heard from Sophie Hughes, who is currently in custody after pleading guilty on January 15 to conspiring to supply Class A drugs after she had arranged the deal between the two men. She had known Mr Pentelow for almost a decade and bought drugs from him.

Hughes had met Ghilani in summer 2018 when he had obtained another drug dealer's phone with her number in it. He had called her and she bought £50 worth of heroin and crack cocaine from him, which amounted to 3 bags of each weighing 0.15g.

She then arranged a drugs deal of heroin and crack cocaine worth around £1,500 between Ghilani and Pentelow in January 2019. Hughes said: "(Ghilani) phoned me, he said he was struggling to get what he needed and could I help.

"I phoned up Stevie and I said to him could he help and he said he could. He was the only person I knew I could phone up and say I needed that around and he was likely to have it."

The deal in January went ahead in Little Harrowden but Hughes said the drugs supplied to Ghilani were slightly underweight, and when she reported this to Mr Pentelow he offered to make it up next time with a lower price.

Hughes continued to see Sifean Ghilani at times and would often see him with Levar Thomas, 20, another defendant charged with conspiracy to rob Stevie Pentelow and with his murder.

Thomas has his own car, a Peugeot 208 and Hughes said Ghilani was often with Thomas when supplying drugs and said: "They told me at first they were partners. They seemed equal."

Hughes said in the morning of June 21, Siefan Ghilani got in touch: "He contacted me to say could I get the same again off Stevie Pentelow."

Mr Herbert said phone records show a repeated pattern of contact from Ghilani to Hughes, who would then speak to Mr Pentelow, and Hughes would then contact Ghilani as she arranged the deal.

This went on throughout the day and Mr Herbert said: "Sifean Ghilani made it clear he only wanted to pay £1,450, he felt the previous supply in January were under weight and wanted to make up the over payment this time.

Eventually, it was arranged to meet in Little Harrowden where Stevie Pentelow was visiting a friend.

Hughes was picked up from her address in Thrapston by Levar Thomas, who had previously picked up Sifean Ghilani and then Tristan Patel and a 16-year-old boy from Wellingborough.

Hughes also said in evidence she had met Tristan Patel, also charged with supplying Class A drugs, and bought drugs from him, yet he denies having met her before June 21.

When they all travelled together to Little Harrowden, Sophie said there was no suggestion on the journey of the violence that would unfold.

She left the car to have a smoke and meet Stevie Pentelow. When they approached the car together she said it had moved out into the middle of the road, but she could not remember if the engine was running.

The attack happened when Stevie Pentelow came to the car, an incident in which Hughes said there was no attempt to purchase drugs and violence started within "seconds"

Mr Herbert said: "What we suggest is that Stevie Pentelow was attacked by three of the defendants: Tristan Patel, Sifean Ghilani and (the 16-year-old from Wellingborough).

"It is the prosecution’s case that the other defendants were present because by that stage of the evening Ghilani wasn’t planning on a straightforward drugs deal, he effectively recruited the others to take the drugs by force and not pay at all."

The prosecution say the other defendants were part of the plan.

"(Tristan Patel) knew Sifean Ghilani was a drug dealer and on this on this occasion was a part of the plan to rob Stevie Pentelow.

"(The 16-year-old) knew both Sifean Ghilani and Tristan Patel.

"While obviously young, he was close to Tristan Patel and knew exactly what he did for a living. A street wise young man, he, like Tristan Patel, was present with Sifean Ghilani to rob Stevie Pentelow of his drugs."

Mr Herbert said Levar Thomas plainly knew he was a drug dealer and said: "Levar Thomas had not got out of the vehicle but stayed in it with the engine running. It’s clear he knew what was going on and was the get away driver or knew the vehicle was going to be used.

Sifean Ghilani, 20, of Winstanley Road, Wellingborough, Tristan Patel, 18, of Newcomen Road, Wellingborough, Levar Thomas, 20, of Knox Road, Wellingborough, and a 16-year-old boy from Wellingborough, have all been charged with the first two counts of conspiracy to rob and murder and all pleaded not guilty.

Sifean Ghilani and Tristan Patel have been charged with supplying Class A drugs to others and have both pleaded not guilty.

The trial continues.