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Life sentence for man who stabbed loving father-of-four to death

A man has been jailed for life for killing a “loving father of four" during a brutal knife attack in Wolverhampton.

Richard Helm was attacked by Danny Cooper − a man he’d never met before − in Raven Crescent, Ashmore Park, on 12 October last year.

Hours earlier, 32-year-old Cooper, from Maytree Close in Chelmsley Wood, had assaulted Mr Helm’s sister and hurled bricks through the windows of her home in Adey Road.

And when her brothers went to find out what happened, Cooper stabbed 37-year-old Richard Helm in the chest; the knife pierced his heart and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Cooper & Wilson
Danny Cooper and Ashley Wilson have been jailed for killing Richard Helm in Wolverhampton

Cooper fled with his friend Ashley Wilson but was arrested by West Midlands Police in Chelmsley Wood on 21 October after going on the run, while Wilson, from Guernsey Drive in Solihull, had already handed himself in to police.

Cooper denied murder but was found guilty following a three-week trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court − and today (9 May) he was jailed for life to serve a minimum of 24 years behind bars. Wilson was convicted of manslaughter for his involvement, and jailed for eight years.

Senior investigating officer Jim Colclough said: “Cooper spent the night drinking with Wilson and got himself involved in a dispute that was nothing to do with him. Cooper was in a rage and assaulted Ms Helm and another woman for no apparent reason. On receipt of this news Mr Helm has chosen to seek out those who were responsible, and this ultimately led to his shocking murder.

“This was a merciless attack and one made all the more senseless because Cooper had never even set eyes on Mr Helm before. 

“Cooper’s actions that morning resulted in a tragic waste of a life and our thoughts remain firmly with Richard’s family. Although their lives have been devastated I hope today’s sentence can give them some comfort, knowing the men responsible have been jailed."

Richard Helm
Richard Helm 

In a statement read out at court, Richard’s mother said: "I’m angry and frustrated that my son lost his life through such violence. I wish every day I could have saved him. I wish that I knew the truth about the events that morning but I’m not sure I ever will.

“To sit in the court room for weeks seeing the men accused has been torture, knowing their actions have changed the lives of my children, my grandchildren, our extended family and mine forever is unbearable.

“I am very proud of my son, he was a blessing to all of the family and I will always miss him."

Richard’s partner Claire spoke about the devastating impact his murder has had on their four children.

She said: "Our girls won’t have their father walking them down the aisle, the boys won’t be able to take their dad for their first pint together, Christmas, birthdays and holiday photos won’t include dad. There will always be an empty seat at the head of the table whenever we celebrate. This breaks my heart.

"I know nothing can bring my Rich back but I hope we can move forward as a family as best we can. We just miss him so very much."