BREAKING NOTTINGHAMSHIRE

Small-time drug dealer’ convicted of teen’s murder

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A small-time drug dealer with a fondness for knives and a history of violence stabbed a teenage boy to death during an argument.

Jake Rollinson fatally wounded 16-year-old Joseph Whitchurch in the early hours of Boxing Day 2020 after a 24-hour drink and drugs binge.

During a panicked 999 call shortly before 5.30am from the scene in his grandmother’s kitchen, Rollinson told the first of an elaborate series of lies that later had to be unpicked by detectives.

As his victim lay dying on the ground Rollinson claimed to have found him severely injured outside the address in Hickings Lane, Stapleford, before helping him inside and trying to save his life.

He was supported in these lies by his former girlfriend Lorna Richardson who was also at the address.

In reality, Rollinson had just stabbed his victim four times in the chest and leg – leaving him fatally wounded.

Rollinson, aged 20, told police that he and Richardson had been sitting outside in a car when the gravely injured victim approached them.

Officers, however, had already been alerted to a disturbance at the address and could find no evidence of blood outside near the car.

Joseph was rushed to hospital but died of his injuries three days later.

The knife used in the attack was later found hidden in the garden of the address.

Rollinson, who had posed on social media holding a large knife and bundle of cash, had previously been convicted of possessing an offensive weapon, battery and affray after threatening people in the street with a baseball bat.

He also has another conviction for battery when he was involved in a robbery, and for racially abusing a police officer while he was in custody.

He finally admitted to stabbing Joseph – but claimed he had acted in self-defence during an argument.

After a trial at Nottingham Crown Court lasting almost three weeks, Rollinson was found guilty of murder by a jury.

Rollinson, formerly of Hickings Lane, denied a charge of murder but both he and Richardson, aged 25, of Blake Road, Stapleford, had already admitted to charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice after lying about what happened.

Rollinson is now facing a life sentence for his actions.

Both will be sentenced in four weeks’ time.

Detective Inspector Steve Wragg, of Nottinghamshire Police’s Major Crime Unit, led the investigation into Joseph’s death.

He said: “Rollinson is a violent, small time drug dealer whose quick temper and self-documented fondness for knives led to the tragic and premature death of a popular young man who had his whole life in front of him.

“Right from the outset Rollinson repeatedly lied about what really happened that day – changing his story only when his rank dishonesty was exposed.

“Even in the immediate aftermath of the attack – as a young man lay dying in front of him – he was primarily concerned not with saving a life but with covering his own back.

“Unfortunately, the sorry, sordid reality of what had happened was plain to see to the officers who first arrived on the scene. Rollinson had repeatedly stabbed his victim multiple times in the chest and leg. Despite the best efforts of medical staff those injuries were to prove fatal.

“I am pleased that the jury in this case has seen through his lies and reached a guilty verdict. But sadly no amount of punishment can ever bring Joseph back.

“He was a popular and good-natured young man with his whole life ahead of him and my deepest sympathies remain with his family. Throughout the legal process they have acted with admirable calm and dignity and I hope this verdict goes some way to helping them with their pain.”