A cold-blooded killer who shot a father to death and left him to die in a Leeds woodland is starting a life sentence for murder.
Anthony Micah Pyke was today (Wednesday) branded “utterly devoid of humanity” by police after he was told he must serve a minimum of 32 years behind bars over the killing of Colin Pierre.
Mr Pierre, known to his family and friends as Craig, was forced into woodland off Gledhow Valley Road, Leeds, at gunpoint before being shot in the leg and left to bleed to death.
Pyke, 32, was found guilty of murder and two offences of kidnap after a trial at Leeds Crown Court.
After the case, Det Chief Insp Jim Dunkerley, of West Yorkshire Police Protective Services Crime, said: “Craig was shot in cold blood and left to die alone in the woods in an appalling act of violence that shows Pyke to be someone who is utterly devoid of humanity.
“Craig’s death was completely unnecessary. He presented no threat to Pyke who had no reason to kill him other than out of some twisted sense of his status as a drug dealer who needed to show he wasn’t to be crossed.
“Craig’s family were completely distraught at the time of his death and are continuing to go through the pain of losing someone in such sudden and tragic circumstances.
“We hope it will provide some degree of comfort to them to know that those responsible for his murder have been caught and sentenced to a long time in prison.”
The jury heard Mr Pierre blasted with a sawn off shotgun as a “brutal lesson” meted out by drug dealer Pyke.
Mr Pierre and another man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were forced to walk from a car into the woods.
The other man was then forced to kneel and Colin Pierre was shot in front of him.
Pyke, of Gordon Terrace, Meanwood, operated an extensive drug dealing network and used others to deal for him and controlled the business through numerous mobile telephones.
A few days before the killing, which took place just before 2am on March 11 this year, Pyke had given the other man heroin and cocaine to sell.
Instead of selling them, the man and Mr Pierre smoked them and ignored the rules of the arrangement that Pyke had dictated to him.
Pyke and another unknown man walked the pair into the woods before Pyke fired the fatal shot from a 12 gauge shotgun.
Mr Pierre then fell down a steep bank into the stream. His body was found the following morning by a 16-year-old boy on his way to school.
The jury was played a recording of a 999 call thought to have been made by Mr Pierre as he lay dying.
Passing sentence, Mr Justice William Davis described Mr Pierre as an “innocent party”.
He told Pyke : “This was not some momentary act on your part.
“This was bringing a man deliberately to Leeds from Morley and then taking him and another to an isolated place with the specific purpose of punishing one or both of them”
He added: “Once you had shot Mr Pierre you did nothing to assist him.
“Rather, you abandoned him in woodland to die in a stream.”
Mr Pierre’s family gave a statement after the hearing which read: “Craig was an innocent victim who did nothing to deserve what happened to him. He was not a part of the criminal world, like the person responsible for taking his life, and he wasn’t in that circle.
“He was a hard-working man who was dearly loved by his family and absolutely adored his six-year-old daughter. Whenever she was with him she would laugh and laugh the whole time. We’ve never heard her laugh like that since.
“Craig was a real character who was funny and could talk for England. People who met him didn’t just like him, they fell in love with him. He had always had that sort of appeal from when he arrived in the world as the first baby of the family. Sadly it was this friendly and trusting nature that made him susceptible to the situation which led to his murder.
“We are absolutely devastated at losing him and we will never get used to him not being here. At the time he died he was starting a new chapter in his life and focusing on the future which makes it even worse.
“Craig meant so much to us all in so many different ways and his death has left a massive hole. We are determined to try to stay positive and do everything we can to make sure that he continues to live on through us all.”
Two other men - Ian Wilson, 37, and Trevor Isle, 49 - were found not guilty of murder and two offences of kidnap.
The prosecution claimed Wilson and Isles both worked for Pyke and were responsible for collecting Mr Pierre from a house in Morley before delivering him to Pyke.
Wilson and Isles, both of Highfield Green, Pudsey, claimed Mr Pierre came with them of his own free will and that they knew nothing of Pyke’s intention to shoot him.
Both men are due to be sentenced over a burglary linked to the incident later today.