A murderer callously brushed aside a man he had just fatally stabbed by mistake, saying ‘soz bro’, so he could chase after his intended target.
Remee Jarrett was carrying a knife when by chance he saw a 21-year-old man who he claimed had previously stabbed him in a past incident.
After seeing him inside the Premier Express convenience store in Robin Hood Street, St Ann’s, on March 22 last year he lay in wait outside the shop with the blade ready.
But he fatally stabbed an innocent man – 21-year-old Reuben Morris-Laing – who just happened to be the first person to approach the door to leave the shop.
On Friday Jarrett was jailed for life at Nottingham Crown Court after admitting murder at a previous hearing. He will serve a minimum of 22 years and 189 days.
On realising his mistake Jarrett, 30, of Kelveden Gardens, St Ann’s, said ‘soz bro’, before callously brushing him aside and chasing his intended target round the store and stabbing him in the back and the arm.
Mr Morris-Laing, who had a single stab wound to his abdomen, left the shop and collapsed outside, at just after 9.25pm. He was taken to the Queen’s Medical Centre where he later died.
Video: CCTV released by police showed Jarrett hiding by the door with the knife.
Jarrett and the second victim fled the scene. The second victim’s identity became known to police after he attended the Queen’s Medical Centre with stab wounds just before 1.30am on 23 March.
Jarrett fled Nottinghamshire but was eventually persuaded to hand himself in to detectives at the Bridewell Custody Suite in Nottingham after a number of warrants had been executed at addresses he was associated with.
The court heard analysis of Jarrett’s mobile phone showed he had looked at various web pages on knife fighting a month before the attack.
He had previously denied murdering Morris-Laing, as well as the attempted murder of and attempted wounding with intent of the second victim, and was due to face trial later this year. However, on 22 December he attended Nottingham Crown Court to admit the murder of Mr Morris-Laing.
He pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder charge but admitted the lesser charge of attempted wounding with intent. He also pleaded guilty to possession of a knife.
Mr Morris-Laing, a carpenter, was described by his family as a hard-working family man who would have had a bright future and had been saving money for a deposit on a house.
His mother Delene Laing spoke out after the sentencing, on behalf of the family including Grandma Diane Laing.
She said: “Reuben was a much-loved and well-liked, hard-working young man. He had hopes and dreams. He had a future. His smile was infectious and he really did light up the room when he walked in. Reuben remains my handsome son, of whom I shall always be incredibly proud.
“Sentence has been passed today but that does not ease our pain. Of course for me no sentence can ever be enough. I want my son back. No one can give me that. There simply are not enough words to describe the enormity of the loss we feel. That Reuben who had so much to give and to contribute has had his life taken from him in such a violent manner. His death leaves a massive void in our lives and we will never be the same again.
“Jarrett has shown no remorse for his actions. He is nothing but a violent, cold killer.”
Mr Morris-Laing’s father Shane Morris said he was still struggling to come to terms with the loss of his son.
He said: “I feel I have two lives, the life that was mine before 22 March 2017 and the life that has followed since that date. Life cannot and will not ever be the same.
“In that evening my son had merely gone to the shop to buy some pop and some chocolate. Who would ever have thought he would never return home?
“Reuben had his whole life ahead of him. He was passionate and creative. He worked hard. He was a skilled young man. He had so much to give. He was loved by so many. The enormity of the loss I feel I just cannot describe.
“Jarrett set out that night to at least seriously harm his intended target. My son was not that target. Knowing that is very hard to take. The ‘if’s ‘and ‘buts’ of that night haunt me.
“Jarrett should never be allowed out of prison, life should mean life. Society needs to be protected from cold calculating killers like him. His actions show he has no regard for the lives of others. He left Reuben dying while he carried out his attack on his intended target.
“I needed to attend court today and try and find some closure. Jarrett has a long time to reflect on the senseless murder of my son. I have seen no signs of remorse from him as yet. Jarrett however, still has the gift of time, something Reuben does not.”
Video: Police at the scene following the murder.
Detective Chief Inspector Hayley Williams, of East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU), Major Crime, who led the investigation, said Jarrett had only admitted the offence to reduce his sentence when the investigation left him with nowhere to hide.
She said: “The murder of Reuben Morris-Laing sparked a three-day manhunt across various forces before Remee Jarrett realised there were no safe havens left for him and handed himself in.
“He consistently denied responsibility for the offence, and when the investigation team proved beyond doubt that Jarrett was responsible, he exaggerated a mental illness to try and absolve himself of responsibility.
“Again excellent work by the investigation team undermined this defence and ultimately Jarrett had no option but to plead guilty to the murder of Reuben Morris-Laing and the attempted wounding of the second victim.
“I would like to thank all the EMSOU, East Midlands Operational Support Service (EMOpSS) and Divisional staff that worked on this challenging case.
“I’d like to offer my sympathies to Mr Morris-Laing’s family.”