Today, Friday 18 August, Cameron Scragg, has been jailed for his role in an unprovoked attack on a man in Crewe.
Cameron Albi Scragg appeared at Chester Crown Court where he was sentenced to seven years in prison after he pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of 51-year-old Stephen O’Brien.
Scragg originally stood trial for Stephens’s murder in February 2017 but following a 14 day trial, the jury were unable to reach a verdict. A second man, Oliver John Dabbs, now 20, was found guilty of murdering Stephen at the same trial; he was sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum term of 20 years to serve.
Stephen died on 31 August 2016 following an incident in a service road off Edleston Road, Crewe. He died as a result of a single stab wound to the chest, which penetrated his heart; he had also suffered a fractured eye socket, voice box and cheekbone.
It is only now, following the final conclusion of this case that Cheshire police can reveal the despicable actions undertaken by Dabbs and Scragg.
Dabbs and Scragg were best friends who met while living at the YMCA in Crewe. Dabbs knew the victim, Stephen, and Scragg had met him earlier in the year when Dabbs had punched Stephen during an unprovoked attack in a car park.
On the night of the murder Dabbs and Scragg had been in regular contact with each other via their mobile phones. The victim, Stephen, had been drinking at the British Lion Pub on Nantwich Road.
At 8.56pm Stephen had told a member of staff that he needed to nip out to get some more cash but would be returning shortly. CCTV footage showed that after withdrawing his money Stephen had walked up Edleston Road towards Sainsbury’s and then entered a service road at the back of Nantwich Road.
The footage showed that Stephen was seen entering the service area by Dabbs who was at the top of Edleston Road on his bike. After watching him enter Dabbs then phoned Scragg, before following the victim into the service area.
Dabbs reappeared shortly after and called Scragg for a second time. A short time later Scragg arrived on his bike and the pair entered the service area together, emerging a short while later. CCTV footage showed that the pair then entered the service area on four further occasions.
After exiting the alleyway for the final time Scragg then used Dabbs’ mobile phone to call 999 for medical assistance before fleeing the scene.
Police and paramedics swiftly arrived at the scene of the incident and Stephen was taken to North Staffordshire Hospital where, despite the best efforts of all involved, he sadly died, and a murder investigation was launched by Cheshire Police’s Major Investigation Team.
The morning after the incident Scragg headed to his mum’s flat. Cheshire Police were already looking for SCRAGG, when he called 999 and admitted that he had been present when Stephen had been injured, but claimed that Dabbs had inflicted the fatal wound.
Scragg was swiftly located and arrested. Whilst being transported to custody, he told officers that the knife used to kill Stephen had been hidden on the roof of a shop that backed onto the service road where Stephen had been injured.
Following Scraggs’ arrest extensive enquiries were launched to locate Dabbs. He was later found at an address on Alton Street, Crewe, and arrested on suspicion of murder.
Following their arrest both Dabbs and Scragg admitted that they were present when Stephen was killed – but each claimed that the other had inflicted the fatal wound.
During the investigation officers and staff gathered vital evidence, carried out forensic enquiries, spoke to numerous witnesses, analysed mobile phone data and viewed hours of CCTV footage.
The knife used to stab Stephen was located and analysed, but it was not possible to forensically determine who had been holding the knife when Stephen was injured. However, police were able to establish that both Dabbs and Scragg shared a fascination with knives and had previously assaulted other people together.
Detective Chief Inspector Helena Banusic, who was in charge of the investigation, said: “Once again I would like to like to express my deepest sympathy to Stephens’s family who have been deeply affected by his death. Throughout this investigation, and the subsequent court hearings, they have shown immense bravery and courage as well as a determination to achieve justice for Stephen.
“Today marks the end of what has been a long and arduous journey for the family and I hope that the sentences that have been handed to both Dabbs and Scragg will provide some comfort and help them to move on with their lives.
“I would also like to express my gratitude to the officers and staff that have supported me through what has been a long and complex investigation. Thanks to their commitment both defendants are now facing consequences of their appalling actions.”