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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 October 2005, 10:49 GMT 11:49 UK
Life sentence for gangster killer
Derek McDuffus
Derek McDuffus had denied murdering Mr Noonan
A drug dealer found guilty of stabbing to death a Manchester criminal has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Derek McDuffus, 41, of Merseybank Avenue, Chorlton, Manchester, denied murdering Desmond Noonan, 45, but was convicted at Preston Crown Court.

At his sentencing on Tuesday the judge ruled he should serve a minimum of 15 years behind bars.

Mr Noonan, known as Dessie, was stabbed in the stomach at Merseybank Avenue, Chorlton, in March.

He had phoned his wife for help moments before his death.

Noonan was murdered days before he appeared on a TV documentary on Five in which he bragged about being untouchable by the police and claimed to have killed more than 20 people.

Desmond Noonan

McDuffus was a dealer who had supplied crack cocaine and Mr Noonan had gone to him in the past for the drug.

The court had heard there was "bad blood" between the pair. On the night of his death, Noonan had been drinking in Northern Moor.

Witnesses told police he was "extremely drunk". He went to Chorlton to try to get someone to buy drugs for him.

In the months before his death, police say Mr Noonan had become addicted to crack cocaine and used his criminal status to get dealers to supply him for free.

When no-one would help on the night of the murder, Noonan went to McDuffus' house directly. He was later found in the street with stab wounds.

Desmond Noonan was a human being and had a right to life
Det Ch Insp Shaun Donnellan,

Shajahan Cooke, 39, of Chorlton, was convicted of attempting to pervert the course of justice and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Cooke, who had denied the offence, was convicted on charges relating to attempts to destroy evidence and provide an alibi for her partner McDuffus.

Det Ch Insp Shaun Donnellan, of Greater Manchester Police (GMP), said: "We may never know exactly what happened inside Derek McDuffus' house that night, but there was history of bad blood between the men concerning drug deals, and McDuffus had been heard to say he would kill Desmond.

"It is important to recognise that no person deserves to die in this fashion, irrespective of their lifestyle.

"Desmond Noonan was a human being and had a right to life."

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