Man high on crack cocaine fatally stabbed dad in neck in botched robbery

Thomas Henderson was jailed for life after killing Lee Small in his own home in Dundee.

A knife attacker who murdered a father-of-two in a botched robbery bid at the victim’s home has been jailed for life.

Thomas Henderson was ordered to serve at least 18 years in prison for the slaying of Lee Small at Ballindean Terrace, in Dundee.

A judge told Henderson that any future decision to release him would be for the parole authorities but added: “You will only ever be released if you are deemed to pose no risk to the public.”

Henderson, 31, had earlier admitted murdering Mr Small, 40, on September 2, 2021 at his home during which the victim was punched and stabbed in the neck in an attempted robbery to gain money.

His accomplice Michael King, 29, was jailed for ten years and nine months for his part in the fatal attack.

King had originally faced a murder allegation but pleaded guilty to killing the victim in a lesser charge of culpable homicide.

Lord Mulholland told them at the High Court in Edinburgh: “By your actions you have taken the life of another man and you will both pay a heavy price for that.”

The judge said: “This was an appalling crime, assaulting and trying to rob a man in his home with a knife and stabbing him in the neck with the knife, which took his life.”

Lord Mulholland said two young boys were left fatherless following the fatal attack and devastation was brought to the victim’s relatives.  

The court heard that King had referred to the dead man as “a c***” and Henderson was heard to say: “Who gives a f***”.

Lord Mulholland said: “You both attended at his home high on drugs and you, Henderson, stabbed him in the neck.” 

The judge said the intoxicated pair had wanted more drugs, particularly crack cocaine. Henderson was armed with the knife and his accomplice was aware of that.

Mr Small died after he sustained an “unsurvivable” wound to his neck which resulted in blood loss and cardiac arrest. 

The judge said that after the fatal attack the killers fled “thinking only about yourselves” and failing to call for an ambulance.

Advocate depute Chris Fyffe said CCTV footage was recovered which showed the pair walking towards Mr Small’s home and stopping outside shops.

He said: “Both men were shadow boxing as if they were preparing for a physical altercation.”

After the attack the pair were seen running away from the flat. They were spotted disposing of the knife and blood-stained clothing.

King went directly to the home of his grandparents and told them what had occurred, and police were contacted.

When he was detained by police he said: “I’m not going down for this. I’ll tell you who did this. I’ll take you to the knife.” He said they planned to rob Mr Small because they knew he kept money and pills in open view.

Defence counsel Mark Stewart KC, for King, said he had identified to police where clothing and the weapon could be recovered.

The defence counsel said King understood the loss, damage and injury that had been caused. He said: “He understands he will be sentenced to a significant custodial sentence, and he has expressed an intention to try to use this time constructively.”

Iain Paterson, solicitor advocate for Henderson, said he had difficult childhood experiences and struggled to come to terms with the death of his father when he was aged 22.

He said: “He entirely accepts his responsibility for causing the death. It is clear he is deeply remorseful.”

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