The family of Daniel Baker has said “he didn’t deserve to die” after a drug addict was convicted of manslaughter.
The dad-of-one died after being stabbed through the heart in South Normanton last summer.
Leon Lockhart, of Carter Lane East, South Normanton, was cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter at Nottingham Crown Court this morning.
He will be sentenced tomorrow.
In a statement, Mr Baker’s family said: “We realise that Danny was no angel – in fact he is now known as our loveable rogue.
“We realise he spent a lot of time in prison, fighting and taking drugs but we also know he didn’t deserve to die.
“He has left behind a lot of family and friends including a son, a mother, a sister and a brother. He also had a niece, nephews, lots of aunts, uncles, cousins and a grandmother.
“We couldn’t count how many true friends he had. Everyone has been very supportive throughout this episode in our lives and we would like to thank them all.
“Now we think it’s time to try and move on and try to piece our lives back together.
“Thank you to everyone who has been involved and to all in South Normanton who have been very helpful.
“We’d like to say a special thank you to Glen Thorpe who tried hard to resuscitate Danny on the night of the stabbing.”
Detective Chief Inspector Lisa Macintyre, who led the investigation, added: “Today’s verdict demonstrates that people who carry knives and are willing to use them will face the consequences of their actions.
“This was a needless act and as a result a little boy has lost his father.
“Daniel Baker became involved with a person he knew and should have been able to trust. It is clear the lifestyle they lived in the 30 hours they spent together played a part in his subsequent death.
“I hope Mr Baker’s family can take some comfort from knowing the man responsible for his death has been brought to justice.
“I would like to thank the public who came forward and gave statements and also those who gave evidence during the trial.
“This tragedy highlights the dangers of carrying knives and I would urge any person considering carrying a weapon to think again.”
The court heard how Lockhart, 32, and his then-girlfriend Michaela Griffiths bumped into Mr Baker “by chance” on a bus on Thursday, July 18. Lockhart and Mr Baker knew each other from previous stints in jail.
The three spent the day together taking drugs and Mr Baker slept on the pair’s settee.
The following day, they took about ten grams of MCAT between them.
Lockhart told jurors he asked Mr Baker to leave him and Griffiths alone that night – then stabbed the 32-year-old in self-defence after he pointed a knife at him.
However, the prosecution said it was “paranoid” Lockhart who pulled the blade on Mr Baker before “plunging” it into his chest, causing a 15cm-deep wound.
The jury heard how Griffiths arrived at her parents’ home to collect some washing the morning after the killing.
Soon after she left, her mother discovered “three strange knives” in her cutlery drawer.
Her father called police and his 24-year-old daughter and Lockhart were arrested shortly after on suspicion of murdering Mr Baker.
Griffiths – no longer charged with murder – has pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.
She will be sentenced with Lockhart tomorrow.
Lockhart told the court he started taking drugs at the age of 12 because he “wanted to rebel”.
The dad-of-two – who denied murder – had abused cannabis, LSD, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin and said he injected MCAT in toilets, phone boxes, at the back of buses and even in local parks.
Mr Baker, of Derby, was found by a couple slumped on the pavement of Carter Lane West shortly before 11.30pm on Friday, July 19.
They tried to resuscitate him as he lay dying on the street but he was declared dead on arrival at King’s Mill Hospital.
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