16-year-old jailed for stabbing gay man to death

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A teenager has been jailed, after being found guilty of the robbery and murder of a gay man.

Usher Sawyers was convicted of the murder of Martin Thomas in his own home in Roehampton, London last April.

The court heard that Sawyers, now 16, stabbed Mr Thomas, 39, to death with a kitchen knife, before stealing his phone, laptop and video camera.

Judge Gerald Gordon at the Old Bailey sentenced Sawyers to at least 15 years behind bars over the incident on April 22.

Over the same incident, 20-year-old Odel Munroe and a 14-year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons were cleared of murder, but found guilty of manslaughter and robbery.

The 14-year-old will serve seven years for manslaughter and five years for robbery, while Munroe will serve 12 years for manslaughter and nine for robbery.

According to the Standard, Sawyers had claimed that the victim was interested in him.

Judge Gordon said during sentencing: “The precise nature of your relationship with him as well as its length are unclear.

“You allege, and it has been repeated today, an intent – at least on his behalf – with a sexual element to it.

“If that is what you believed the answer is simple – don’t go there – but you did.

“What is clear by that day, you had identified him as a person who would be unlikely to report you to police afterwards and therefore a perfect target for robbery.”

Mr Thomas was described as a “quiet” and “private” gay man, who had exchanged texts and calls with Sawyers in the lead-up to his death.