Leeds & West Yorkshire

Man burgled Leeds flat days after killing owner Christopher Laskaris

Philip Craig Image copyright West Yorkshire Police
Image caption Philip Craig was convicted of murdering Christopher Laskaris after a trial at Leeds Crown Court

A drug dealer who stabbed a man to death in his own home and then returned days later to burgle the property has been convicted of murder.

Philip Craig, 38, killed Christopher Laskaris, 24, at his flat in the Hyde Park area of Leeds in November.

Craig, from Leeds, then went back to the flat in St John's Close, where his victim's body remained, to take more possessions.

He was jailed for life with a minimum of 25 years at Leeds Crown Court.

Craig pleaded guilty to burglary at a previous hearing for which he was sentenced to three years, to be served concurrently.

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The court heard Mr Laskaris, who had Asperger's Syndrome and suffered from bi-polar disorder, died from a single stab wound to the heart on 4 November.

His body was not discovered until 17 November, by which time Craig had gone back to the flat to steal items including a TV, games console and a number of guitars.

Image copyright West Yorkshire Police
Image caption Christopher Laskaris was stabbed to death in his flat in Hyde Park, Leeds, in November

Jailing Craig, Mr Justice Goss said: "It is clear from the evidence that his difficulties made him vulnerable and he lacked insight in to his vulnerability.

"You preyed on this and saw him as someone you could use to your advantage by supplying him with drugs.

"When you left his flat he was dead or dying.

"You subsequently returned and moved his body, by which time you must have known he was dead, turned his trouser pockets out and helped yourself to such of his property that you considered of value and which you sold.

"His difficulties in life were not of his making; he needed help and support, not exploitation and abuse."

Image caption Mr Laskaris' body was not found until almost a fortnight after he was fatally stabbed

In a statement, Mr Laskaris' family said his death had had a "devastating impact".

"We are relieved that justice has been done, but nothing can ever heal our pain and loss, which we will have to live with for the rest of our lives," the family said.

"A bright young man has been robbed of his future, and this has had a devastating impact on his friends and family."

The case against a second man - Dempsey Pattison, 22, from Leeds, - who was also charged with murdering Mr Laskaris was discharged in February.

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