Man tortured and beat drinker to death after chance off-licence meeting ended in horrific violence


A MAN who tortured and beat a dad-of-two to death, after a drunken chance meeting at a shop during the first lockdown ended horrifically, has been jailed for more than 17 years.

Simon Wilkins, 28, stabbed Arturas Busma so hard that the knife broke, before burning his back with a hot iron, and stamping on him after inviting him into his flat to drink alcohol on April 20 last year, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

He photographed the body and his bloody shoes before keeping the body at his flat overnight and handing himself into police the next day, claiming he acted in self defence.

But, police found the body of the maintenance engineer, who was born in Russia, with a stab wound to the chest, burn marks from an iron and injuries consistent with being stamped on.

Last month at Wolverhampton Crown Court, Wilkins was jailed for a minimum of 17 and a half years after he pleaded guilty to the murder in February.

Police are still not sure exactly why he was killed, but it is thought Wilkins may have taken exception to Mr Busma putting his arm around Jodie Rafferty, 33, who lived nearby and was also in the flat on the night.

KILLER: Wilkins in a police mugshot from West Midlands Police

The court heard Wilkins and Ms Rafferty met the victim outside a nearby convenience store after Mr Busma had left his home, following a row with his wife, after drinking heavily.

Mr Busma bought a bottle of Jack Daniels and some lemonade and was invited back to the flat.

But, the court heard it is believed Wilkins became angry after Mr Busma put his arm around Ms Rafferty, Expressandstar.com reports.

Judge Michael Chambers QC said: "Those who are drinking heavily seek social connections and friendship with others who appear to have a common interest.

"He came across to you and Jodie. I am quite sure there was no initial disagreement. The CCTV shows smiling faces and Mr Busma putting his arm around Jodie and later you.

"The weight of the evidence would suggest some social interaction in the sitting room during which he placed his arm around Jodie Rafferty and you found showed inappropriate intention.

"Clearly you resented that and I am satisfied the assault took place in the hallway.

"This was a horrendous attack which was brutal and sustained.

"It involved not just a stab wound to the chest with a knife, but punching, kicking and stamping over a protracted period of time.

"In my judgement, it was a deliberate attempt to inflict pain by pressing a hot iron against the victim's back.

"You stabbed him with a knife. The force was so much it caused the blade to break.

"You dragged him while still alive along the hallway into the doorway of the sitting room so you could heat up the iron and place it on his back.

"The marks were consistent with moving the iron around or placing it across his back in two actions. It left clear burn marks.

"You later took photographs of his body and your bloody shoes."

Neighbours reported hearing a female screaming and "several bangs" before 11pm, the court was told and Wilkins was overheard telling Ms Rafferty "you better keep your f***** mouth shut."

She was initially charged with murder and pleaded not guilty in December, but the case against her was later dropped.

Wilkins, 28, handed himself into police the day after the murder at Wolverhampton police station and stated he had punched a man who now wasn’t breathing. A West Midlands Police spokesman said after the sentence: "He claimed Mr Busma had pulled a knife on him and he retaliated. "Mr Busma was later discovered dead by officers at the flat with a stab wound to the chest, burn marks and injuries consistent with being stamped on. "The only evidence we found after descending on the address was Mr Busma’s badly beaten body after what we believe was a sustained attack."

A post-mortem examination found Mr Busma suffered a "devastating number of serious injuries" including rib fractures and a fracture to the cartilage in his neck plus he suffered significant blunt force trauma to his head and body.

Wilkins pleaded guilty to the murder but his version of Mr Busma, who left two sons, being the aggressor was not accepted by the judge who said CCTV from the shop where the three went to buy alcohol showed Mr Busma being "amiable".

Defending, Andrew Fisher QC, said the killer had been heading in a "vortex" to this, with mental health, drinking and his behaviour getting worse.

He said: "He is finding it difficult to come to terms that he could behave like that."

A victim impact statement from the widow of Mr Busma said: "The death of Artura Busma has had such a detrimental affect on the family.

"It is difficult to put into words what it means to have lost a husband and father. Not only was he the main provider but he was a role model to the children."

Detective Inspector Laura Harrison, from the force homicide unit, said outside court: "Sadly the family of Mr Busma will never really know why their loved one was taken away in such a brutal way. "It appeared he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and happened to come across Wilkins. He was persuaded to go to the flat and it was there he was killed. "We can only hope the lengthy prison sentence will offer some comfort to Mr Busma’s family and friends."