A TEENAGER who stabbed a man to death during a county lines drug deal was today sentenced to 10 years and four months in a young offender institution with an extended three-year licence period.

Brooklyn Bell, 19, of Parkwood Rise, Keighley, was found guilty of the manslaughter of Simon McMinn after a trial at Bradford Crown Court in January.

He killed him in a wooded area of Aireville Park, Skipton, on the evening on July 28 last year.

Bell was also sentenced for causing grievous bodily harm with intent by stabbing a man in the back in Bournemouth and for being concerned in the supply of heroin and supplying heroin.

Prosecutor John Elvidge QC said Bell was a drug runner for the Sully Line and he expected to sell up to £400 worth of heroin and crack cocaine in Skipton that day.

Mr McMinn, 44, confronted him in the park after the teenager approached a group of youths and asked them if they were interested in buying drugs.

Bell attacked Mr McMinn with a flick knife, stabbing him three times, once in the shoulder and twice in the back.

He left the scene taking the knife, changed his appearance and disposed of his phone.

A victim personal statement from Mr McMinn’s mother, Sandra Freeman, stated that he was cruelly taken away from her.

She wished she could have been there to hold and comfort him. He was in her thoughts first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

She would break down and cry when she saw his ashes.

Bell had shattered their family and she could never forgive him for all the lives he had ruined.

The court heard that Bell was on police bail at the time for stabbing Leon Stratford, 54, on August 11, 2019. He suffered a collapsed lung after Bell knifed him three times in the back.

Christopher Tehrani QC, Bell’s barrister, said he was 16 when he attacked Mr Stratford and 18 when he killed Mr McMinn. His immaturity and lack of intellectual functioning had a great impact on his ability to interact at school and in the larger world.

Mr Tehrani conceded that the Bournemouth attack was ‘cowardly and unjustified’ with a dangerous weapon, a flick knife. But he said there was no evidence about who took the knife to Aireville Park.

He highlighted Bell’s immaturity and unsettled life. He had lived in Spain and was tricked into coming back and then trafficked and exploited.

Bell had himself been stabbed by those who were controlling him in London.

There had been one incident of violence in HMP Doncaster but there was no evidence that he was involved in any gang culture there.

Judge Jonathan Rose said he had read probation, psychological and psychiatric reports.

Bell had been bullied when growing up in Devon. He had moved to Spain where he suffered racist abuse. He then became involved with a criminal gang in London and was groomed for the task of selling drugs.

In August, 2019, he was working in Bournemouth as a drug dealer when he argued with Mr Stratford. He wasn’t prepared to leave that dispute behind and he stalked him before launching a surprise attack, stabbing him three times in the back.

Bell fled to Spain but returned to the UK and was bailed.

He moved to Keighley and fell in with drug dealers.

Judge Rose said he was sure that Bell was armed with the knife that he used to kill Mr McMinn.

Mr McMinn had just been released from prison and he had been drinking and taking drugs. He arranged to buy more from Bell and they met in the park at 8pm.

He was angry with Bell for offering to sell a youth ‘sniff’ or cocaine.

Bell drew his knife, stabbed him several times and ran away from the park leaving be-hind a dying man.

Bell was acquitted of murder by the jury but it was ‘a persistent and violent assault.’

As far as his drug dealing was concerned he was a runner for the Sully Line with a lesser role in the organisation.

Judge Rose said Bell carried a knife when dealing drugs in London and Bournemouth and would have carried one when trafficking them in Keighley and Skipton. He acted in anger when he stabbed Mr McMinn.

He was a dangerous offender with an entrenched antisocial attitude.

Senior Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Steve Menzies, led a major investigation into the killing of Mr McMinn.

It involved thousands of manhours and a vast range of police teams, including detectives, forensic experts, uniformed officers, specialist search teams, including the regional underwater search team, intelligence teams and more, alongside working closely with Dorset Police.

After Bell was sentenced, DI Menzies said: “Simon McMinn was a son, brother, and father who lost his life in Aireville Park in Skipton through the illegal carrying of a knife.

“It’s a sad indictment to the damage drugs do to communities, and the devastation they bring to families. While I know Mr McMinn’s family are heartbroken by their loss, I hope Bell’s sentence brings some comfort to them.

“County lines drug dealing adds another dimension, importing misery and conflict into otherwise low-crime communities such as Craven.

“We have dedicated teams that work tirelessly to rid our communities of drugs and prevent dealers from other areas ruining North Yorkshire.”

Detective Constable Ian Caddy, of Bournemouth CID, said: “Dorset Police takes all offences involving knife crime extremely seriously and we will work relentlessly to ensure offenders such as Brooklyn Bell are brought to justice.

“This attack left Bell’s victim with nasty injuries, but it is fortunate that they were not even more serious or even fatal.

“Dorset is one of the safest places to live in the country and we do not have as much knife crime as seen in other areas. However, we are not complacent, and we continue to be proactive as we do all we can to educate our communities and prevent knife crime.”

Police use information supplied by the public to bring drug dealers to justice.