A CRADLEY Heath teenager who stabbed a Netherton father to death during a bungled break-in has been jailed for life.

Damilola Johnson, aged 19, must spend a minimum of 21 years behind bars for killing Simon Johnson at his Cradley Road home.

A 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was cleared of murdering the 41-year-old but convicted of manslaughter.

He was sent to detention for 10 years and will be subject to an extended three year licence period upon his release.

Damilola Johnson - no relation to the victim - who had been living in Sidaway Street, Cradley Heath, had denied the murder but he was found guilty by a jury at the end of the three week trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court. He was also convicted on a charge of burgling the Mr Johnson's home, which he had also denied.

The 17-year-old, who had denied the murder charge but admitted burgling the property twice.

During the trial, the court heard that the pair had broken into his house to steal cannabis plants in bin bags on August 16 last year.

It was one of several overnight and early hours trips to the property that the defendants, together with others, had made to steal drugs.

But the window fitter was stabbed four times by Johnson after he woke up and confronted them.

The pair, who had armed themselves with knives from the kitchen, left him to die on the landing and his body was found hours later by a work colleague.

"He was cornered by you both," said Judge James Burbidge QC. "He had no time to defend himself and he was left to die."

Benjamin Aina QC, defending the 17-year-old, said he had decided to involve himself in a risky and dangerous situation and it was never intended anyone should be killed.

"He is still struggling to take in the magnitude of his actions and the dreadful consequences," he said.

Jo Sidhu QC, for Damilola Johnson, said the killing was not premeditated: "It was a reaction to an event."

Jurors were told that the youth hid the fact he had a knife during the burglary, but his lie was uncovered after CCTV showed him leaning over a garden wall of a house nearby shortly after the attack - when police visited the location two knives were recovered.

A kitchen knife had previously been found in the front garden of the victim’s house which was stained with his blood.

Both suspects were arrested by police after their fingerprints were found on bin liners which had been used to place the stolen cannabis underneath Simon Johnson’s body and blood from the victim was found on clothing worn by both offenders.

The judge told the pair that the psychological trauma suffered by the family of Mr Johnson was "beyond comprehension".

His widow, Roz Johnson - who was separated from her partner of 19 years at the time of his savage killing - said their two daughters found it hard to understand why anyone had wanted to hurt him.

"I have not only had to deal with my own grief but the grief of the girls," she said.

"I will always miss him."