Drug dealer who wrote drill rap about violent attack is jailed for stabbing a man in a park and leaving him to die
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A drug dealer has been jailed for stabbing a man to death in a North Yorkshire park.
Brooklyn Bell, 19, killed Simon McMinn after an argument about Bell trying to sell cocaine to school children.
Bell, from Keighley, worked for a county lines drug gang based in West Yorkshire.
He had travelled to Aireville Park in Skipton to sell drugs, including £60 worth of heroin and crack cocaine to Mr McMinn and his friend.
Mr McMinn and Bell started to quarrel and Bell stabbed 44-year-old Mr McMinn, once to the chest and twice to the back, then fled the scene leaving him to die.
Bell was also convicted for a similar attack against a man in Bournemouth when he was just 16 years old and dealing for a London-based County Lines drug gang.
He stabbed the 54-year-old man in the back three times with a flick knife following a minor disagreement.
The victim suffered a collapsed lung and needed emergency surgery but survived.
He went on the run, writing drill rap lyrics glorifying the stabbing and boasting that he wouldn’t be caught.
“I left that crime scene happy. No evidence. So the feds can’t catch me,” he wrote.
While on the run, Bell went to Skipton on the afternoon of July 28 last year to sell drugs, and claimed to have sold about £500 worth of drugs before meeting McMinn that evening.
Witnesses who saw Bell in Aireville Park described him as “looking dodgy” and said the do-rag he wore on his head and his low-slung jeans made him stand out.
Mr McMinn and his friend approached Bell to buy drugs, but Mr McMinn also challenged him after he had discovered that Bell had offered cocaine to a 14-year-old schoolboy earlier in the day.
The argument escalated and Bell plunged a knife into his victim three times. He then ran off.
Bell got a taxi back to Keighley as police and paramedics responded to a 999 call from Mr McMinn’s friend and tried to save Mr McMinn’s life. However, Mr McMinn suffered severe blood loss from internal injuries which sadly resulted in his death.
North Yorkshire Police’s Major Investigation Team (MIT) launched a large-scale investigation to gather evidence and to identify a suspect.
Officers who searched the scene found a balaclava that had been dropped nearby and recovered drug wraps, both of which were found to contain traces of Bell’s DNA.
The MIT’s investigations led officers to addresses of Bell’s associates and family in both Keighley and Huddersfield in a quest to arrest Bell. This resulted in Bell handing himself in at Huddersfield Police Station three days later.
He had shaved his distinctive dreadlocks, disposed of his clothing, mobile phone, and the weapon used in the attack.
When arrested and interviewed, Bell refused to answer any questions but was charged with murder and remanded in to custody to face trail.
North Yorkshire Police then worked closely with Dorset Police to investigate the Bournemouth incident, resulting in Bell being further charged.
Bradford Crown Court heard how Bell claimed to be a low-status drug pusher for a county lines drugs gangs from urban areas that infiltrate smaller rural towns and sell drugs by phone using a network of dealers. He used a phone line to deliver drug orders around West and North Yorkshire.
Following trial in January 2022, Bell was found not guilty of murder, but found guilty of the manslaughter of Simon McMinn.
Today at the same court, he was jailed for a total of ten years and four months for manslaughter, grievous bodily harm and supplying heroin and crack cocaine.
In mitigation, the court heard Bell was of low intelligence and had experienced poor parenting and a lack of role models.
However, the judge said he became willingly involved in drug dealing in West Yorkshire and craved a “hard man image”. He said he was satisfied Bell took the knife with him to the meeting in the park, which Bell had denied.
The judge gave Bell an extended three-year licence period when he is released from prison after ruling he was a danger to the public.
Senior Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Steve Menzies, led a major investigation into the killing of Mr McMinn.
It involved thousands of manhours and a vast range of police teams, including detectives, forensic experts, uniformed officers, specialist search teams, including the regional underwater search team, intelligence teams and more, alongside working closely with Dorset Police.
After Bell was sentenced, DI Menzies said: “Simon McMinn was a son, brother, and father who lost his life in Aireville Park in Skipton through the illegal carrying of a knife.
“It’s a sad indictment to the damage drugs do to communities, and the devastation they bring to families. While I know Mr McMinn’s family are heartbroken by their loss, I hope Bell’s sentence brings some comfort to them.
“County lines drug dealing adds another dimension, importing misery and conflict into otherwise low-crime communities such as Craven.
“We have dedicated teams that work tirelessly to rid our communities of drugs and prevent dealers from other areas ruining North Yorkshire.”
Detective Constable Ian Caddy, of Bournemouth CID, said: “Dorset Police takes all offences involving knife crime extremely seriously and we will work relentlessly to ensure offenders such as Brooklyn Bell are brought to justice.
“This attack left Bell’s victim with nasty injuries, but it is fortunate that they were not even more serious or even fatal.
“Dorset is one of the safest places to live in the country and we do not have as much knife crime as seen in other areas. However, we are not complacent, and we continue to be proactive as we do all we can to educate our communities and prevent knife crime.”
Police use information supplied by the public to bring drug dealers to justice. Find out more about county lines and how to report your concerns here: County lines | North Yorkshire Police