Page last updated at 18:14 GMT, Thursday, 8 May 2008 19:14 UK

Two men guilty of mugging murders

Neil Williams and Andrew Owen
Neil Williams and Andrew Owen were mugged near their homes

Two men have been found guilty of murder after two men died being mugged.

South Africans Gabriel Benghu and Jabu Mbowane, both 26 and of Court Road, Whitmore Reans, Wolverhampton, were also found guilty of seven robberies.

Neil Williams, 41, died in Telford, Shropshire, and Andrew Owen, 42, died in Sedgley, West Midlands, in April 2007, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

Kashia Allen, 22, of Wolverhampton, was cleared of murdering Mr Owen but found guilty of his manslaughter.

Allen, of Crosby Close, was also found guilty of seven robberies.

Benghu and Mbowane had admitted mugging the two men, who were attacked near their homes, but denied intending to harm them.

They are cowards, they're parasites - they targeted hard-working people going about their daily life
Paul Williams

Benghu was found guilty of two counts of murder and Mbowane of one count of murder.

Mr Williams was killed in Telford 10 days before 42-year-old Mr Owen was attacked.

Both victims were walking home from a night out at their local pubs when they were grabbed around the neck and robbed.

West Midlands and West Mercia Police launched Operation Talrin, a joint inquiry into the deaths, after finding Mr Williams' stolen watch near Mr Owen's body.

Chris Owen and Paul Williams, the murdered men's brothers, respond to the verdicts

Summing up the case, Mr Justice Goldring told the jurors they must decide if Benghu and Mbowane intended to kill the men or to cause them serious harm.

He later thanked the jury for showing great care in reaching its verdicts.

Benghu and Mbowane are known to have entered the UK legally, but their visas had expired by the time of the murders and the other seven muggings.

After the case, Neil Williams' brother Paul, 46, said his brother was killed going "for a pint".

He said of the defendants: "They are cowards, they're parasites - they targeted hard-working people going about their daily life."

He added it "could easily" have been seven families who lost loved ones.

The date for sentencing the two men at Wolverhampton Crown Court is being decided, but could be on Friday.

The court is waiting for pre-sentencing reports before Allen is sentenced.

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