Sandwell Man Sentenced To Life For Friends Murder

A Sandwell man who repeatedly hit his ‘friend’ over the head with a rock following an argument over stolen money has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to life in prison.

Darren Lander, aged 28, of no fixed address, will serve a minimum of 15 years in prison for the murder of Richard Groves in May this year.

Mr Groves, aged 32, was hit a number of times across the head and face with a rock at his home in Warley on the night of Monday 16 May.

Unemployed Lander had been staying with Mr Groves for a few months and the pair would often take drugs together in Groves’ home.

On the night of the murder, Lander and Groves had visited a cashpoint to withdraw money to buy drugs before returning to the flat.

The court heard how when the pair returned to the flat, Lander accused Groves of stealing money from his aunt’s house. A fight broke out and Lander violently beat Groves leaving him dead on his bedroom floor.

After killing Mr Groves, Lander left the flat and over the next two days visited friends, calmly confessing to a number of people what he had done.

On the morning of Wednesday 18 May, Lander made a phone call to his offender manager at West Midlands Police and confessed to killing Mr Groves with a rock and leaving him in the flat.

Lander was arrested for the murder from his aunt’s address. 

Following the court hearing, Detective Inspector Warren Hines, from Force CID, said:

"Richard Groves offered Lander, who he saw as a friend, a place to stay in a time of need.

"After the pair had spent the evening together in Mr Groves’ flat, Lander killed him in a violent attack, repeatedly hitting him across the head and face. He then left Mr Groves lying dead in his flat for days before finally calling his offender manager and confessing to the murder. 

"I hope that the sentence handed down today brings some comfort to Mr Groves’ family."


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