Life jail for killer who stabbed man to death outside Birmingham pub
A knifeman who fatally stabbed a man outside a Birmingham pub following a row over a punch-bag machine has been jailed for life - as the victim’s grieving mum pleads with young men to put down their knives.
Carlton Junior Donaldson stabbed Daniel Baird in the chest in Fazeley Street, Digbeth, after a clash between two groups in the Forge Tavern pub in the early hours of 8 July 2017.
Witnesses described seeing 24-year-old Donaldson - who was aged 22 at the time - lashing out wildly with a combat-style knife before fatally wounding Mr Baird.
The 26-year-old, from Yardley, was driven to hospital alongside pal Dale Scott who’d also been stabbed - but minutes into the journey collapsed and was soon pronounced dead.
A post mortem examination revealed the knife injury had pierced the victim’s heart.
Trouble flared at around 4am in the Forge Tavern when 29-year-old Scott stumbled into a group containing Donaldson and Sashon Brown after taking a swing at a punch-bag machine.
Brown, aged 25, produced a folding knife and flicked open the blade in a threatening gesture to show Scott he was armed and prepared for violence.
It acted as the catalyst for increased tension between the groups.
Pictured: Sashon Brown
Another altercation erupted in the games room with Donaldson and Brown surrounding Scott before bouncers intervene and usher the warring factions outside.
CCTV shows Donaldson slashing wildly at a man with a large knife, narrowly missing, before the disorder moves to Fazeley Street where he stabs both Scott and Mr Baird.
Both are picked up in a Ford Fiesta driven by a friend but, during the three minute journey to Heartlands Hospital, Daniel collapsed in the rear seats and was pronounced dead at 5.30am.
Scott, from Gilbertstone Avenue in South Yardley, suffered a stab wound to his back but made a full recovery.
West Midlands Police detectives spent hundreds of hours painstakingly trawling through CCTV footage before identifying Donaldson as the likely suspect.
He was interviewed in HMP Durham on 9 July last year having been jailed for drugs offences in Scotland just weeks after the murder.
He refused to answer questions but West Midlands Police had gathered enough evidence to charge him with murder on August 1…the day before he was due for release from Durham.
At Birmingham Crown Court yesterday a jury found Donaldson guilty of murder, violent disorder and two counts of wounding - and today (28 Feb) he was jailed for life to serve a minimum of 23 years behind bars.
Sashon Brown, from Woodington Road in Sutton Coldfield, was found guilty of violent disorder and knife possession and was jailed for two-and-a-halfyears.
Dale Scott and another man, 28-year-old Sean Spooner, were both found not guilty on the same two charges.
Detective Chief Inspector Ed Foster, said: “This is an extremely tragic case in which another young man has lost his life to knife crime.
“The trigger for this murder was simply someone stumbling into another person. There was no bad blood between the two groups but that minor incident quickly escalated into a fatal fight.
“Donaldson’s group were the main aggressors and, with around 20 men in total, significantly outnumbered the other group.
“Donaldson arrived at the Forge Tavern at 12.30am with Daniel’s group including Scott and Spooner arriving just over an hour later.
“It was busy, about 100 people inside. One witness who’d been a doorman for many years said how he didn’t like the atmosphere: he could smell cannabis, many people were drunk and he felt it was a place there was going to be trouble.
“Tragically it proved to be an accurate premonition. We all know how carrying a knife can have awful consequences - both for the carrier and others - but that combined with excess alcohol is a truly lethal mix.
“I hope the verdicts and jail terms handed down to the offenders offer the family some comfort for their tragic loss."
West Midlands Police pushed for an expedited review of the Forge Tavern’s licence in the immediate aftermath of the murder; the venue was closed down and has never since reopened as a pub.
Pictured: Daniel Baird
Daniel’s mum Lynne Baird thanked the “tireless" work of West Midlands Police detectives in helping secure justice for their family.
She added:" Thanks to the tireless work of West Midlands Police and everyone else involved we are relieved Carlton Donaldson has been convicted of the murder of our lovely son, Dan.
We hope that he will never be able to inflict such hell on another family.
“Our lives have been destroyed and we will never recover from the devastating loss of Dan. He had a bright future ahead with his beautiful partner Gemma and told me the last morning I saw him of his plans to marry. He was delighted that he had passed the interview for his new job. He was so happy. Sadly, it was not to be, and I never saw Dan again.
“We miss his beautiful smiling face, which brightened up our lives. We miss Dan so much. He is gone from our lives but will be forever in our hearts. Until we meet again, rest in peace our lovely Dan."