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Jail for man who helped murderer escape from Shropshire

By Deborah Hardiman | Meole Brace | Crime | Published:

A man who helped a murderer escape from Shropshire has been jailed.

Jake Dykstra

Police today welcomed the guilty verdict given against Jake Dykstra, 20, who was convicted of assisting an offender following a trial at Shrewsbury Crown Court.

The jury heard how Dykstra helped killer Declan Graves get back to Merseyside after the stabbing in Shrewsbury of Michael Wareham, also from Merseyside.

DS Tony Skelding, of West Mercia Police’s major investigation unit, said: “Dykstra willingly drove Declan Graves back to Merseyside knowing he had stabbed Michael Wareham.

Wayford Close where the murder happened. Inset: Declan Graves.

"Michael, who was 16 at the time, sadly died as a result of his injuries in hospital three days after being attacked in a dispute between two rival groups.

“We’re pleased with today’s verdict and hope it sends a clear message to anyone involved in violent crime that whatever their involvement we will look to put them before the court and face the consequences.”

Dykstra helped Graves get back to his home city of Liverpool after he fatally stabbed 16-year-old Michael Warham in a clash between two drug gangs in August 2016.

Michael died in hospital on August 4, 2016, three days after the stabbing in Moneybrook Way, in Meole Brace, Shrewsbury.

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Graves was jailed after a retrial in September 2017 for a minimum of 20 years for the murder.

Dysktra, who denied the allegation, did not take to the stand himself during the proceedings and the defence did not put forward any other evidence.

He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced later this month.

Judge Jonathan Gosling thanked the jury.

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He said: "I suspect that when you came here, you did not expect to find yourselves hearing about teams of children, because that’s what they are, dealing in hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of drugs on the street. One of them ended up being stabbed to death.

“This has been a new low for me.

Driver

“I suspect you have been shown a different world that you didn’t know existed.”

The court heard how Dykstra arranged a lift to Liverpool for Graves with his "regular driver", Steven Roberts.

Dykstra was part of a drug gang and would pay Mr Roberts, a customer, for lifts.

Mr Roberts picked up Graves and Dykstra in Market Drayton on August 4 and took them to Meole Brace, where they entered a garden for around a minute before returning to his van.

On the return journey, he was asked by Graves to give him a lift to Liverpool for £100 and Mr Roberts agreed.

The jury heard that Dykstra was in the vehicle during this conversation but was dropped off in Market Drayton before the other two continued to Speake, in Liverpool.

Paul Smith, defending barrister, told the court that Dykstra played no part in organising Graves’ onward journey with Mr Roberts and that there was no evidence linking his client to the crime apart from the fact that he was in the van.

The jurors disagreed and found Dykstra, of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, guilty of assisting an offender.

Deborah Hardiman

By Deborah Hardiman
@Deborahh_Star

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based out of the head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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