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BlogThree men jailed for murder of teenager Callum Riley

Three men jailed for murder of teenager Callum Riley

Three men have been sentenced for the murder of 17-year-old Callum Riley.

Tony Adams (35) of Minshull New Road, Crewe (pictured centre) and Dale Heywood (26) of Windermere Road, Middleton (pictured left) were both convicted of murder and section 18 assault, as well as possession of an offensive weapon and criminal damage. They were each jailed for life, with a minimum 24-years tariff.

Niall Conaghan (18) of Minshull New Road, Crewe (pictured right) was convicted of the same charges and jailed for eight years.

In September 2022, Callum was found unresponsive in a garden on Atholl Drive with a deep stab wound to his leg. His friend was also found seriously injured with a stab wound to his stomach but survived after receiving emergency medical treatment.

A murder investigation was launched and a blood trail led police to Tony Adams’ house on Atholl Drive.

It became apparent that the two victims had been stabbed in the doorway of the house. Adams had been seeking to recover a drug debt from Callum for a number of months.

In early 2022, Adams and four other men had forced their way into Callum’s house where he lived with his mother and brother. Callum was not home at the time, but the five men threatened his family in an attempt to intimidate him and enforce the debt.

Matters came to a head on September 16, 2022 when Adams made threats to another of Callum’s friends after allegedly hearing rumours the friend was going to ‘grass’ about the location of his stash of drugs.

Following this, Adams gathered a group of men and went to Callum’s house where they smashed the front windows with a baseball bat. Callum was not at home at the time, although his mother, who is suffering from a serious illness, discovered the damage.

Callum was told of the damage and went to Adams’ house with a friend to confront him about the damage he had caused.

Adams, Dale Heywood and Niall Conaghan had armed themselves with weapons including a baseball bat and a knife, and were lying in wait for the pair, launching an attack within seconds of them entering his garden.

The pair managed to run from the address and were chased up Atholl Drive. Callum only made it a short distance before succumbing to his injuries. He was found unresponsive later that morning in a garden by members of the public.

Adams initially claimed to police that he had acted in self-defence. However, he was subsequently arrested on suspicion of section 18 assault and murder.

Heywood was reported missing by his father after the incident but was quickly located in Burnley by police on September 18, 2022 and arrested on suspicion of murder. During his arrest, he said: “I am really, really, really, really sorry. I didn’t mean for it to happen. It was self-defence; it was self-defence.”

In addition to the trio of sentencings, a 35-year-old female was convicted of assisting an offender and has received a sentence of nine months suspended for 18 months.

Earlier, at a separate hearing at Manchester Crown Court in April, three other men were sentenced for their involvement. A 25-year-old man pleaded guilty to affray and was sentenced to a community order. Two men aged 20 and 21 pleaded guilty to criminal damage and possession of an offensive weapon and were both sentenced to detention for a period of 6 months, suspended for 12 months.

Detective inspector Louise Edwards said: “I want to be clear that this was not a case of self-defence. Tony Adams set in motion a chain of violent events where he planned and welcomed a confrontation with a teenager.

“Adams, Dale Heywood and Niall Conaghan were armed with weapons including a knife and a baseball bat in the expectation of violence they had planned for and hoped would start.

“They created a situation in which Callum would come to Atholl Drive, armed themselves and opened the door rather than calling the police.

“Those violent actions have devastated so many lives. The family and friends of Callum have had to face the loss of a loved one in such terrible circumstances.

“My thoughts are with them today and whilst the sentences imposed can never undo what has been done, I hope it will bring them some form of closure.

“I would like to thank the investigation team for their hard work during this complex investigation and the prosecution team in building the strongest possible case.”

Detective sergeant Adam Hitchen said: “Tony Adams, Dale Heywood and Niall Conaghan robbed a teenager of his life and future when they committed this senseless and violent crime over a £180 cannabis debt.

“Callum did not deserve to die and there are no justifications for their actions. I would like to thank Callum’s family for their courage and dignity throughout this investigation. I would also like to pay tribute to the witnesses who have assisted Greater Manchester Police in our investigation.

“This case is another example of the tragic consequences of knife crime and I would like to use this case to issue an appeal against carrying knives. Had weapons not been used that night, we might not be here today. Knives can have terrible, fatal consequences – for victims and offenders – and I urge you to think very carefully about the risks and not carry knives.”

To report a knife crime call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Helen Greaney
Helen Greaney
I'm a journalist with more than 18 years' experience on local, regional and national newspapers, as well as PR and digital marketing. Crime and the courts is my specialist area but I'm also keen to hear your stories concerning Manchester and the greater North West region.
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