Drug addict whose home was ‘cuckooed’ murdered days after telling police ‘he would be killed’ by gangsters, court hears

Drug addict whose home was 'cuckooed' murdered days after telling police 'he would be killed' by gangsters, court hears

A ‘vulnerable’ drug addict whose home was ‘cuckooed’ was murdered in a revenge attack, prosecutors allege.

Leigh Smith, affectionately known as Leroy, was found dead in his home in Eccles.

He had previously told police about ‘Salford gangsters’ he was ‘in trouble with’ who had access to guns and that ‘he would be killed’.

READ MORE : This is the man accused of murdering a grandad in Manchester city centre

Three teenagers have gone on trial accused of 48-year-old Mr Smith’s murder.

Jacob Cookson, 18, and two 17-year-old boys who can’t be named for legal reasons all deny murder.

Prosecutors allege the murder was committed in ‘retaliation’, after Mr Cookson was hospitalised following an attack on him by another man in Mr Smith’s home.

Mr Cookson believed he had been ‘set up’, Minshull Street Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Craig Hassell QC said Mr Smith had struggled with drug addiction for a number of years and was ‘vulnerable’.

He had been homeless at times but had recently found a new flat with the help of the Housing First initiative.

Mr Smith had been given a key worker to assist him, and he moved in to the flat in February.

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But by June he began to struggle and told those helping him that he felt ‘very down’, and it appeared he had started using drugs.

A text message found on his phone suggested he was also dealing drugs for two different sets of dealers, Mr Hassell told jurors.

The prosecutor claimed Mr Smith was a victim of cuckooing, when drug dealers take over someone’s home to store or pack drugs for onward sale.

In the early hours of June 16, he was at home on Cook Street with Mr Cookson and another man and his girlfriend.

The other man, who was smoking crack cocaine, had an argument with Mr Cookson.

Mr Cookson was ‘violently assaulted’ by him and needed hospital treatment after being hit over the head with a radio.

Mr Smith told his key worker that he had also been attacked hours later.

He had lost his teeth after being attacked with a hammer, he said.

The prosecution does not allege the three defendants were responsible.

She reported what Mr Smith had told her to police, and officers later went to his home to check on him on June 17.

He told officers that ‘he would be killed’ and that ‘Salford gangsters who he had been in trouble with had access to firearms’, Mr Hassell said.

While the officers were in the flat, Mr Smith received a phone call.

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“It’s him, they know that you’re here,” he said.

The day after, different officers arrived and Mr Smith refused any offers of help, saying he had been ‘threatened’ and he feared repercussions.

At about 7am on June 22, Mr Smith was found dead in his flat by a neighbour.

He had been stabbed seven times to his legs and buttocks, jurors heard, and had bled to death on his living room floor.

Mr Hassell said: “The prosecution say that the fatal attack was carried out by Cookson and three others, two of whom have been identified.

“We say in this case that the motive for a violent attack on Leroy was clear, it was retaliation for the attack on Cookson in Leroy’s flat, and Cookson’s belief that he had been set up by Leroy to receive the beating that he got.”

Proceeding .

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