Knife-killer facing life behind bars after murdering pub-goer
A killer who knifed another man outside a pub following a row over a punch-bag machine has been ordered to serve at least 23 years.
Carlton Junior Donaldson, 24, stabbed 26-year-old Daniel Baird in the Digbeth area of Birmingham in 2017.
The victim was knifed through the heart during violent clashes outside the Forge Tavern pub in the early hours of July 8.
Detectives believe trouble flared at around 4am when another man stumbled into a group containing Donaldson and 25-year-old Sashon Brown, after taking a swing at a punch-bag machine.
Brown, aged 25, produced a folding knife and flicked open the blade in a threatening gesture caught on CCTV.
West Midlands Police said officers spent hundreds of hours painstakingly trawling through CCTV footage before identifying Donaldson as a suspect.
He was interviewed at HMP Durham in July last year, having been jailed for drugs offences in Scotland just weeks after the murder.
Donaldson was jailed for life at Birmingham Crown Court on Thursday after being found guilty of murder, violent disorder and two counts of wounding.
Brown, from Woodington Road in Sutton Coldfield, was found guilty of violent disorder and knife possession and was jailed for two and a half years.
Detective Chief Inspector Ed Foster said: “This is an extremely tragic case in which another young man has lost his life to knife crime.
“The trigger for this murder was simply someone stumbling into another person.
“There was no bad blood between the two groups but that minor incident quickly escalated into a fatal fight.
“Donaldson’s group were the main aggressors and, with around 20 men in total, significantly outnumbered the other group.
“I hope the verdicts and jail terms handed down to the offenders offer the family some comfort for their tragic loss.”
In a statement, Mr Baird’s mother, Lynne Baird, said: “Our lives have been destroyed and we will never recover from the devastating loss of Dan.
“He had a bright future ahead with his beautiful partner Gemma and told me the last morning I saw him of his plans to marry.
“He was so happy.
“Sadly, it was not to be, and I never saw Dan again.
“We miss his beautiful smiling face, which brightened up our lives.
“We miss Dan so much.
“He is gone from our lives but will be forever in our hearts.”