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Man sentenced to life in prison for Birmingham bus murder

A Birmingham man who stabbed a fellow passenger on the top deck of a bus has been sentenced to life in prison. 

Kieran Maclean Gillespie, aged 26, from Wellesbourne Road, Handsworth, was today (27 July) convicted of the murder of Leon Barrett-Hazle following a week and a half long trial at Birmingham Crown Court and ordered to spend life behind bars.

Kieran Gillespie
Kieran Gillespie

Leon Barrett-Hazle, a 35-year-old man from Smethwick, died after being stabbed numerous times by Gillespie while travelling on the No 11A bus in Rookery Road, Handsworth on 23 January this year; the attack was captured on CCTV cameras installed on the bus.

The court heard that Gillespie had got on the No 11A bus at Perry Barr and went upstairs, where Mr Barrett-Hazle was already sat. Gillespie sat opposite and some words were exchanged, before Gillespie moved to sit two rows behind him.

Further words were exchanged and Gillespie got out of his seat and went up to Mr Barrett-Hazle, where there was a short argument before Gillespie stabbed the victim multiple times. 

Gillespie then walked off the bus, while other passengers ran to Mr Barrett-Hazle’s aid and alerted the driver.

Gillespie then walked back onto the bus to retrieve his baseball cap, before calmly walking away once more.

Despite emergency CPR given to the victim at the scene, he tragically died from his injuries. A post mortem revealed the fatal stab wound was to his neck.

Leon Barrett-Hazle
Leon Barrett-Hazle

Police immediately launched a major man hunt and released CCTV images of the offender who had been caught on CCTV installed on the bus. As a result Gillespie was quickly identified and on January 25 handed himself into police.

Today Gillespie was today found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. He must serve a minimum of 26 years before he can be considered for release.  

Detective Inspector Warren Hines from the force’s Homicide team, said: “This was a completely mindless killing of a man who had done nothing out of the ordinary, the ferocity of the attack coupled with Gillespie’s nonchalant actions in the immediate aftermath were particularly troubling aspects of this case. My abiding hope is that Leon’s family find some small comfort in today’s conviction and that the people of Birmingham feel reassured that a really dangerous, unstable individual is off the streets."

Leon Barrett-Hazle’s family paid tribute to him by saying they had been left devastated by the loss of a ‘wonderful, warm, kind, generous of heart and much loved’ family man.

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