A woman has pleaded guilty at Leicester Crown Court today (Thurs) to killing her partner in Stoke-on-Trent.

Sophie Lou Butler, aged 20, pleaded guilty to manslaughter just days into a trial.

Sophie Butler
Sophie Butler

She was on trial for the murder of her boyfriend, 33-year-old Norasab Hussain, at their flat in Bromley Court, Hanley, on Saturday 30 May 2015.

The trial was halted when she entered a guilty plea to manslaughter. This was accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Butler will be sentenced at the same court on Monday 15 February.

DCI Dave Giles said: “Today’s plea of guilty to manslaughter is a positive outcome, which fully takes account of Sophie Butler’s actions, in that she unlawfully killed Mr Hussain.”

Following this incident a referral was made to the Independent Police Complaints Commission to review the circumstances around the force’s response to the incident. An independent investigation is ongoing.

UPDATE: Three more charged in connection with death

Three more people have been charged with offences in connection with the death of Carl Tindall in August 2015.

Louise Hurmson, aged 32, of Avenue Road, Cannock; Sarah Hurmson, aged 35, of Greig Court, Cannock, and Anthony Boddison, aged 25, of St Peter’s Gardens, Stafford, are all charged with assisting an offender.

All three have been bailed and will appear before magistrates in Cannock on January 13.

A fourth person, 35-year-old Jamie Sleigh, of St John’s Road, Cannock, was charged in August with the manslaughter of Mr Tindall and is due to appear at Stafford Crown Court in February.


A man has been convicted of the manslaughter of a Tamworth man earlier this year.

Ross Gill, 24, of Faringdon, Tamworth, was due to stand trial at Stafford Crown Court this week but on Tuesday 27 October he pleaded guilty.

Photo: Ross Gill
Ross Gill

Today, Thursday 29 October, Gill was sentenced to six years and three months in prison for the manslaughter of Jason Grice.

Emergency services were called to reports of a man lying in the road outside The Yews Farm, Haunton, near Tamworth, just before 12pm on Saturday 2 May.

The man, 28-year-old Jason, had suffered significant head injuries and sadly died on Sunday 3 May at the University Hospital of Coventry.

The court heard how Jason sustained his injuries after leaving a blue Skoda Fabia, registration FE57 RUA, driven by Gill.

A detailed and thorough investigation by Staffordshire Police’s Major Investigation Department established that Gill was angry with Jason as he believed he had sold his property. He had asked Jason to store it for him at his home in Sorrel, Tamworth.

Jason Grice
Jason Grice

It is believed that as Jason was walking along Woodlands Road or Tamworth Road in Amington at around 11am on Saturday 2 May he was picked up by Gill. Jason then remained in the car where he was subjected to threatening and violent verbal abuse as Gill drove to Haunton where Jason sadly exited the car sustaining fatal injuries.

Two others, Carl Durham, 32, of Spruce Street, Tamworth, and Carl Villiers, 25, of Sorrel, Tamworth, were charged with kidnap and manslaughter but no evidence was offered at court against them. The two were therefore released without further action.

Detective Inspector Glyn Pattinson, who led the investigation, said: “We welcome the conclusion reached today. This incident saw a petty dispute over property escalate, resulting in disproportionate threats and violence towards the victim.

“Only the defendant truly know what happened in the car that day. However, our evidence indicates that whatever he said and did to Jason, it resulted in him leaving the car while it travelled at speed. Not something he would have willingly chosen to do.

“It is tragic that an argument over property led to the loss of a young man’s life.

“We hope today’s outcome brings some form of comfort and closure to Jason’s family.”





Two men have been sentenced to 19 years imprisonment for the manslaughter and attempted robbery of a Stoke-on-Trent man.

Jacob Havard, aged 22, of Brittain Avenue in Newcastle, and Matthew Fereday, aged 25, of Moorland View, Bradeley, Stoke-on-Trent, were sentenced at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court today, Monday 28 September.

Jacob Havard
Jacob Havard

In August the pair pleaded not guilty to the murder of Leonard Holmes, but guilty to manslaughter and attempted robbery ahead of a scheduled trial.

Havard was sentenced to nine years in prison. Fereday got 10 years with an extended sentence of three years. This means that should he be released early he will face an additional three years on license as well as his remaining time from the 10 year sentence.

Matthew Fereday
Matthew Fereday

Mr Holmes, known to his family and friends as Lenny, died in a care home in Stoke-on-Trent in February 2015 aged 61.

He was found in Brownley Road, on the junction with Community Drive, in the early hours of Saturday 5 April 2014.

Leonard Holmes
Leonard Holmes

He had sustained extensive injuries as a result of a serious assault and never regained consciousness.

Tests established Mr Holmes had sustained blunt force trauma which led to damage to the brain. Whilst in hospital he then suffered with chest infections and ultimately developed bronchopneumonia that led to his death.


Mr Holmes had attended a family gathering on the night of Friday 4 April 2014. He was dropped off by taxi shortly after 1am on Saturday 5 April 2014 at the junction of Brownley Road/Community Drive.

A detailed police investigation established Mr Holmes was subjected to verbal abuse by the two defendants, who demanded his money and phone before they attacked him.

Havard and Fereday then ran from the scene before leaving in a black VW Golf. They spent the rest of that night drinking and socialising.

Mr Holmes, of Nellan Crescent, was found unconscious in the road by passers-by, who alerted the emergency services.

He had sustained serious head and facial injuries as a result of the attack and continued to receive medical support until his death earlier this year.

Detective Inspector Glyn Pattinson, from the force’s Major Investigation Department (MID), said: “I have no doubt the intention of these two men was to rob Lenny.

“Without warning or provocation they viciously attacked him as he walked home, subjecting him to both a verbal, and physical, attack.

“Lenny was in no position to defend himself and sustained significant injuries.

“For 10 months his family sat by his bedside in the hope he would regain consciousness and be a part of their lives once again.

“Sadly that didn’t happen and unfortunately he passed away in February.

“These two men caused the death of a much-loved and well known member of the Smallthorne community.

“Today’s sentence is to be welcomed and I hope it brings some form of closure to Lenny’s family and friends.

“I would like to thank members of the local community who assisted with this investigation. Information they provided, together with CCTV from the locality, helped us to piece together exactly what happened and who was responsible for Lenny’s death.”

Chief Inspector Adrian Roberts, policing commander for the Stoke North area, said: “Following this very serious incident there was a significant police presence at the scene and some local roads were cordoned off whilst the investigation was carried out.

“This was a cowardly attack on a respected member of the community which understandably caused distress to the many friends and family of Mr Holmes.

“I would again like to reiterate my thanks to the family, and local community, for the support and assistance given to the police at the time and throughout the investigation, which has enabled these offenders to be brought to justice.”

The family of Lenny Holmes said:

“As a family it is very difficult to express our feelings towards these two young men.

“Lenny was a kind and decent hard working man who was travelling home from a family function when he was attacked by Havard and Fereday because they wanted to steal his belongings. There was no need to do what they did to him and our family has gone through hell for the last 17 months watching Lenny being cared for and unable to communicate or move.

“There is no sentence the court can impose that will compensate for losing Lenny. The family would like to thank everyone who supported us through this difficult time.”

INCIDENT IN STAFFORD: Man charged with manslaughter

A man has been charged with the manslaughter of Carl Tindall, who was found with serious head injuries on a Stafford street.

Jamie Sleigh, aged 35, from the Cannock area, was charged this evening (Thurs).

He will appear before magistrates in Cannock tomorrow morning (Fri). He is the fourth person to be arrested in connection with this incident.

Mr Tindall, aged 35, of Brocton, Stafford, was taken to hospital after being found lying in Cull Avenue shortly after 10pm on Saturday, August 22.

Sadly, he died in hospital on the evening of Monday, August 24.

Three people already arrested in connection with the incident remain on bail, pending further inquiries. They are a 32-year-old woman and a 25-year-old man from Stafford, and a 35-year-old woman from Cannock.

Two Plead Guilty To Manslaughter

Two men have pleaded guilty to the manslaughter and attempted robbery of a Stoke-on-Trent man.

Jacob Havard (photo below left), aged 22, of Brittain Avenue in Newcastle, and Matthew Fereday (photo below right), aged 24, of Moorland View, Bradeley, Stoke-on-Trent, appeared at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court today, Thursday.

Jacob HavardMatthew FeredayAhead of a scheduled trial they pleaded not guilty to the murder of Leonard Holmes, but guilty to manslaughter and attempted robbery. This was accepted by the prosecution.

The pair were remanded in custody and will now be sentenced at the same court at a later date.

Mr Holmes, (below photo), known to his family and friends as Lenny, died in a care home in Stoke-on-Trent in February 2015 aged 61.

Leonard HolmesHe was found in Brownley Road, on the junction with Community Drive, in the early hours of Saturday 5 April 2014.

He had sustained extensive injuries as a result of a serious assault and never regained consciousness.