A MAN who lured another man to a secluded cul-de-sac in the middle of the night and stabbed him with a ceremonial dagger has been found guilty of his murder.

Gary Warner, aged 31, was stabbed in the chest as he sat in his car on Stone Avenue on the Falcon Lodge Estate, Sutton Coldfield on October 31, 2020.

He was rushed to Good Hope Hospital but died from his injuries just hours later.

Kane Stonehouse denied murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to poor mental health, but our evidence told a very different story.

The extensive investigation carried out by West Midlands Police’s homicide team revealed that Stonehouse made plans for Gary Warner to come to Stone Avenue and was lying in wait for him armed with the dagger.

The court also heard how Stonehouse, aged 20, had a long-standing grudge against Gary and blamed him for breaking his brother’s jaw in a fight back in 2013.

Halesowen News: Gary Warner.Gary Warner.

After the attack, Stonehouse took steps to cover his tracks; he got rid of his mobile phone and hid the murder weapon at his girlfriend’s house before calling police to turn himself in.

During the 999 call, he told the operator that he’d stabbed a masked man who’d tried to rob him in an alleyway the night before.

That version of events was quickly proven to be a lie.

CCTV footage, witness testimony and mobile phone data were presented as evidence in court corroborating that the killing had all the classic hallmarks of a pre-arranged trap.

Stonehouse had actually picked up drugs from his dealer a few hours before the stabbing and noticed that his dealer was in a car being driven by Gary Warner.

After the initial meeting, Stonehouse set about staging a second drugs drop outside his home on Stone Avenue, whereby he emerged from the darkness and plunged a ceremonial dagger into Gary’s abdomen.

The knife penetrated 15cm into his body causing catastrophic damage to his liver, kidney and the portal vein which ultimately resulted in his death.

While Stonehouse admitted possessing an offensive weapon and accepted responsibility for Gary’s death, he pleaded not guilty to murder.

His claims of innocence were dismissed by a jury at Birmingham Crown Court following a three-week trial and he was convicted of murder on Wednesday, June 15.

He’s due to be sentenced on June 16.

In a brief statement, Mr Warner’s family thanked our officers, prosecutors and members of the community for collectively helping to secure a conviction.

It read: “We’d like to thank the local community for the help and support through this difficult time, plus the prosecution team for their hard work in seeking justice for our family.”

Detective chief inspector Westley Martin said: “This was a premeditated incident driven by anger and resentment resulting in the needless and senseless death of Gary Warner, a young man with his life ahead of him.

"Kane Stonehouse will not only rightly face a lengthy prison sentence, but he will also have to live with the consequences of his actions for the rest of his life.

“Although nothing can bring Gary back or fill the void his loss has left in the lives of those that knew and loved him, I hope that the outcome of the case can at least bring them some form of closure.”