Teenagers jailed for a total of 36 years for the 'appalling' murder of Salford man Leigh Smith.
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Two teenagers found guilty of the murder of 48-year-old Leigh Smith from Salford, following conclusion of a month long trial last Friday (21 January 2022) have been jailed after appearing at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court this morning (28 January).
Jacob Cookson, 09/10/2003, of Langworthy Road, Salford, has been sentenced to 19 years in prison.
Logan Eaton, 12/02/2004, has been sentenced to 17 years in prison.
Eaton can be identified for the first time, after the judge lifted reporting restrictions preventing his name from being published.
During the trial, the court heard how Leigh who was deemed vulnerable, had moved into a new assisted living flat in Eccles, when he became a victim of 'cuckooing' by a group of organised crime group members from the Salford area.
On the evening of the 21 June 2021, Cookson and Eaton entered Leigh's flat before proceeding to stab Leigh seven times to his legs with a knife before fleeing, leaving Leigh to bleed to death in his living room.
Leigh was not found until the following day, when a concerned neighbour went round to the flat to check on him and found his body, alerting police to the scene.
Detective Chief Inspector Ben Cottam, of GMPs Major Investigation Team, said: " Today's sentencing concludes a complex and thorough investigation which involved a team of detectives from our Major Incident Team working around the clock to gather enough evidence to make sure that we could get justice for Leigh's family.
"Leigh was a vulnerable man who was taken advantage of by the defendants who have shown little remorse for their appalling actions and I am pleased that they will now be spending the foreseeable future in prison.
"Cuckooing is a horrendous practice, which we are determined to crack down on in Greater Manchester.
"As always, we need the assistance of the public to keep making sure we are aware of anyone who may be a victim, so that we can give them help and support and bring those who commit these acts to justice.
"I'd like to take this opportunity to say if you think a family member, friend or neighbour may be a victim of cuckooing, then please get in touch with police so we can help them."
Leigh's family added: "This has been an extremely difficult and heart breaking time for the whole family, especially Leigh's young daughter.
"To lose Leigh under such horrific circumstances is beyond belief and terrible enough for any adult, let alone a child. Despite the verdict and sentencing, nothing will ever fill the void that has been left in all of our hearts and lives because of the people who decided to take Leigh from us.
"On behalf of Leigh and all our family, we would like to give our heartfelt thanks to all of the police staff, CPS, jurors and the judicial system for all their hard work, ongoing support and for bringing these people to justice".