Father and two sons face years in jail for battering man, 51, to death with a wrench for his two Rolex watches in front of stunned shoppers
- Darren Smith, 51, killed in brutal attack in Heath Way, Shard End, Birmingham
- Lee O’Brien, 51, Luke, 36, and Lewis, 31, have pleaded guilty to manslaughter
A father and his two sons face years behind bars for battering a man to death with a wrench for his two Rolex watches in front of stunned shoppers.
Darren Smith, 51, had visited a phone shop on Heath Way, Shard End, Birmingham, to buy a new mobile phone case when he was ambushed by Lee O’Brien, 51, and his two sons – Luke, 36, and Lewis, 31.
They repeatedly kicked and punched him and also struck him multiple times with a wrench as horrified families with children watched on outside the row of shops.
Two Rolex watches were stolen from Mr Smith’s wrist and staff at the shop were threatened before the three thugs fled in their cars.
Mr Smith walked unsteadily out of the shop, before collapsing nearby, where several members of the public gave him first aid until emergency services arrived.
Paramedics began administering life support but he was confirmed dead at the scene as a result of severe head injuries.
Darren Smith, 51, had visited a phone shop on Heath Way, Shard End, Birmingham, to buy a new mobile phone case when he was ambushed
(Pictured from left to right) Lee O’Brien, 51, and his two sons, Luke, 36, and Lewis, 31, pleaded guilty to manslaughter. They will be sentenced in November
O’Brien, Luke, and Lewis, were arrested the following day after fleeing to Torquay, in Devon.
READ MORE: Man in his 50s is killed in attack by thieves ‘armed with hammer’ who were ‘trying to steal his Rolex’
They had borrowed a car from a friend to travel down to the seaside town in a bid to evade police, but were traced in the car they were travelling in.
The father and his sons pleaded guilty to manslaughter for the March 15 brutal attack yesterday at Birmingham Crown Court. They will be sentenced on November 16.
Detective Inspector Michelle Thurgood, from West Midlands Police’s Homicide Team, said: ‘We know that Lee, Luke and Lewis all knew Darren, but only they know why they targeted him that day.
‘My thoughts remain with Mr Smith’s family at this distressing time, I hope that these pleas bring them some sense of justice being done.’
Mr Smith’s family previously released a tribute saying: ‘We as a family are devastated at the loss of our son Darren.
‘He was a caring man and was loved by all who knew him. He was tragically taken from us and this has left a huge void in our lives.’
Mr Smith’s family previously released a tribute saying they were devastated by his death and described him as ‘a caring man and was loved by all who knew him’
Two Rolex watches were stolen from Mr Smith’s wrist and staff at the shop were threatened before the three thugs fled in their cars
Floral tributes left outside the shop following the attack. Heartfelt messages can be seen in memory of Mr Smith – also known as ‘Wiffa – saying he would be ‘missed by all’
The scene was cordoned off as West Midlands Police and forensic officers combed the scene for evidence following the violent fatal attack
A blue tarpaulin sheet was draped over the entrance to Cell Me Phones in Birmingham. Police said the father and sons knew Mr Smith but is not known why they targeted him
More floral tributes outside the shop, Friends also took to social media in tribute to Mr Smith and described him as having a ‘heart of gold’
Friends also shared tributes to Mr Smith – also known as Wiffa – on social media at the time.
One pal wrote: ‘Coming home to the hear the shocking news of Darren Wiffa Smith, his life taken over a personal possession. awful news, rest in peace.’
Another friend described him on social media as ‘having a heart of gold’ and added: ‘You will be missed fella.’
One person wrote on Facebook: ‘Absolutely gutted, such a great guy.
‘I’ve got so many funny memories with you Wiffa until we meet again I will treasure them. Rest in eternal peace.’
Another commented: ‘RIP Darren Wiffa Smith you deserved so much better than this, you was a true legend, absolutely heart breaking, see you on the other side one day x’.
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