Liverpool man guilty of student's mephedrone murder
A man has been found guilty of the "cowardly" murder of a University of Liverpool medical student.
Muneeb Nasir, 21, from Bristol, was stabbed by 37-year-old Colin Clarke, from Liverpool, during a bungled drugs robbery.
Liverpool Crown Court was told that Mr Nasir had been using and dealing the drug mephedrone.
Alan Johnson, 30, was convicted of manslaughter and Mark Hirst, 19, was cleared of murder and manslaughter.
During the nine-week trial, the court heard that Mr Nasir was subjected to "extreme violence" in the attack last July at his student house in Wavertree.
The highly-regarded student had been using and dealing the formerly legal high mephedrone.
Hirst, of North Barcombe Rd, Childwall, had previously bought mephedrone from the student and knew the layout of his home and where his drugs and valuables were stored, the jury heard.
He hatched a plot to attack and rob Mr Nasir with amateur football team-mates Johnson, of Whitby Rd, Woolton, Clarke of Hale Road, Speke, and team manager Lewis Cleator, 19, of Shipley Walk, Speke.
The student was subjected to a "cowardly and merciless" attack in which he was bound and stabbed, said Ian Unsworth QC, prosecuting.
Mr Nasir's housemate and former girlfriend later found him in his bedroom bound with duct tape and dripping in blood.
Unemployed Clarke knifed Mr Nasir during a bungled attempt to steal his 17oz (482g) stash, the court heard.
Mr Nasir died from blood loss caused by single stab wound to his thigh.
Mr Unsworth said that several months before the fatal attack, Mr Nasir's life became "off-balance" and that he "drifted" into dealing and using mephedrone.
"There is clear evidence that Muneeb Nasir began dealing the drug at a time when it was not illegal but continued to do so after it was banned," he told the court.
"It was his involvement in the world of drugs that was, ultimately, to lead to his sad, premature and young death."
Det Ch Insp Kath Adams, of Merseyside Police, said Mr Nasir's death had left his family "devastated".
"Muneeb was a grade-A student in medicine and came from a long line of doctors in the family.
"Mephedrone use brought him into contact with the individual who went on to take his life."
Cleator, who drove the car to Nasir's house the night he was killed, was not a defendant in the murder trial but has admitted conspiracy to rob.
Johnson and Hirst had previously pleaded guilty to the same charge and will be sentenced, along with Cleator, at the end of March.