North East Wales

Matthew Cassidy: Two men jailed for County Lines murder

Matthew James Cassidy
Image caption Matthew Cassidy died after the attack in Connah's Quay

Two men have been handed lengthy jail terms for the murder of a 19-year-old over a drugs dispute in Flintshire.

David Woods, 20, from Liverpool must serve 27 years, while Leslie Baines, 48, from Deeside, must serve 26 years, before release can be considered.

They were both convicted of killing Matthew Cassidy in Connah's Quay last May.

Mr Cassidy, from Merseyside, was stabbed nine times on the stairs of a block of flats over a drugs turf war.

The men were handed mandatory life sentences at Mold Crown Court by Mr Justice Clive Lewis.

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Media captionWhat is "county lines"?
Image copyright North Wales Police
Image caption A man was captured on CCTV running from the scene of the murder

During April's trial, the prosecution said Mr Cassidy, from Huyton, Knowsley, was a drug dealer operating on Deeside, who was stabbed during a dispute over the sale of hard drugs.

Mr Cassidy travelled to Connah's Quay the day before he was killed by Woods, a member of a rival gang which was also operating from Liverpool.

Woods initially pleaded not guilty but later admitted murder - while his co-defendant Baines was convicted after a trial.

Two men matching their description were seen leaving the block of flats moments after Mr Cassidy was found.

Image caption David Woods eventually admitted his part in Matthew Cassidy's killing
Image copyright Andrew Price
Image caption Leslie Baines claimed he was at his mother's home at the time of the murder

Forensic scientists said the fatal wound to the teenager's chest, which pierced his heart, happened when Mr Cassidy was on the ground floor - after he had fallen or been dragged down a flight of stairs.

Woods admitted murder four days into the trial and intending to pervert the course of justice by providing police with false telephone evidence in a bid to blame the killing on Baines.

Baines denied knowing Mr Cassidy and being at the flats, claiming his trainers could not have made the marks found at the scene as the prosecution claimed.

It is not known whether he was physically involved in the stabbing but a jury found him guilty of the joint murder.

Image caption Matthew Cassidy was found fatally wounded outside a flat in Connah's Quay

In a victim impact statement read to the court, Mr Cassidy's mother Jane Cassidy said her son had been vibrant, funny, gentle and "so alive".

She said: "He had so much to live for - so many unfulfilled promises.

"My heart has been ripped out and broken for ever."

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