A SAVAGE killer who inflicted an agonising death upon his victim, subjecting him to 164 separate injuries, has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 27 years.
Naeem Mustafa’s ‘barbaric’ attack upon Michael Brierley saw him issue fatal injuries with a range of weapons, kicks and punches – with a coroner commenting that the 46-year-old’s organs were found ‘relatively bloodless’ following the killer’s rampage.
Mr Brierley was pronounced dead in his Nelson bungalow on November 8 after his partner with whom he shared the house, Jeannie Wright, called the 999.
But by this stage Mustafa had fled – hurrying to his mother’s house to get changed before withdrawing cash to buy crack cocaine and visiting a Colne pub with friends.
However just hours later police tracked down Mustafa and arrested him on suspicion of murdering Mr Brierley and assaulting Ms Wright, with a jury finding him guilty on both counts at the end of a three-week long trial in May.
During the Preston Crown Court trial, jurors were told how Mustafa had exercised control over Mr Brierley and Ms Wright, using their home as a base for drug-taking, drinking with several different women.
Mustafa also ensured the payment of Mr Brierley’s benefits into his bank account – something which demonstrated the level of power he held over the vulnerable man.
Prosecutor Paul Reid QC outlined how during the early hours of the morning on the day of his death, Mustafa had repeatedly attacked Mr Brierley with a range of weapons – including part of a metal bed frame which he later tried to clean in a bid to get rid of the evidence.
Jailing him on Thursday morning (June 16) The Honourable Mr Justice Barry Cotter told Mustafa: “Michael Brierley suffered an agonising death at your hands, for no reason whatsoever. Your attack was as senseless as it was barbaric.”
He added: “As for mitigation, I take into account all that Mr Wright QC has said on your behalf, however I cannot see any mitigation.
“This was not a momentary loss of control, it
Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Al Davies said: “Michael and his partner had been subjected to months of abuse at the hands of Naeem Mustafa.
“That abuse including intimidation, bullying, physical and financial abuse. In effect Mustafa had taken over the whole lives of Michael and his partner – this often referred to as cuckooing.
“The violence which was shown to Michael progressed over a significant number of months and culminated on the 8th of November with him being physical injuries and sustain 164 injuries. This was a brutal, savage and frenzied attack which resulted in unsurvivable injuries.”
He added: “What Michael went through I cannot even imagine. But today I feel and the family feel, that justice has been served.
“We feel the sentence today reflects the horrific nature of the offences and also the danger that Mustafa represents.”
Jodie Clough, who stood trial alongside Mustafa charged with assisting an offender, was acquitted.
Junior prosecution barrister in the case, Emma Kehoe said: “Naeem Mustafa is a violent bully who exercised control over Mr Brierley and his partner in their own home. He visited their home, often with strangers, taking it over as if it was his own. If they did not let him in he would threaten to break down the door. He took control of their money and had previously assaulted them both on a number of occasions.
“That fateful day last year his violence escalated to the point that he inflicted fatal injuries on Mr Brierley and when his partner tried to help, she was knocked to the floor resulting in a black eye and a bleed on the brain.
“In police interview, Mustafa claimed he was not a violent man, but we presented strong evidence to the jury, including CCTV, telephony and forensic evidence, and they agreed with the prosecution case and found Mustafa guilty of the offences he faced.
“Our thoughts are very much the family and friends of Mr Brierley who are mourning him. We hope that as Naeem Mustafa begins his prison sentence they will feel that justice has been served.”