Dad stabbed to death in broad daylight in chance encounter during pizza trip

A dad-of-three was stabbed to death in broad daylight during a chance encounter at a shopping centre.

Karl Gallagher, 31, was knifed in the heart outside a row of busy shops in Smethwick, West Mids., at 4.40pm on April 26 last year.

An air ambulance was scrambled but despite the best efforts of paramedics he died at the scene before he was taken to hospital.

Tyrelle Harris, 20, was later arrested on suspicion of murder after he found hiding in an attic under a pile of clothes.

A jury took just over eight hours to find him guilty of murder at Wolverhampton Crown Court on Friday.

Jurors heard Mr Gallagher had been waiting with friends after ordering a pizza outside West Cross Shopping Centre when by chance he met his killer.

Harris was standing by a Hyundai with friends when Mr Gallagher approached the group and a short conversation took place.

CCTV shows Harris taking a few steps closer to him, pulling out a knife and fatally stabbing Mr Gallagher in the chest.

The murderer and three people ran from the scene, leaving Mr Gallagher bleeding in the street for dead.

Paramedics attempted life-saving surgery, but sadly he was pronounced dead at the scene – less than an hour after meeting Harris.

A murder investigation was launched and a manhunt was underway to trace the knifeman after video footage circulated on social media.

A distressing video was recorded by a man who was sat in a car who can be heard exclaiming: “He stabbed him, bro. He stabbed him, bro.”

Moments later Mr Gallagher stares down at his bleeding chest before falling over backwards with his hands in the air

Detectives went to a property in Netherton, Dudley, West Mids., after tracing the owner of the Hyundai, which was left at the scene.

A search of the property found Harris hiding in an attic under clothing and he was arrested on suspicion of murder.

A knife was later recovered from a drain in Smethwick.

Forensic tests found this was the same knife used to kill Mr Gallagher and tossed away as Harris fled.

In a statement after the case, the dad’s family said: “Thankfully today Karl’s murderer has been taken off the streets, no other family will get to go through the pain that we have gone through, and no other mother will ever have to say goodbye to her son at the hands of Tyrelle Harris.

“We are truly thankful that today there has been some justice for Karl, but this will never free us from the life sentence that we now have to learn to live with.”

Detective Inspector Adam Jobson, from West Midlands Police’s Homicide team, said: “This truly is a tragic case and really highlights the devastating effects of knife crime.

“Karl met his killer by chance, only moments before a knife was used on him. He died from a single stab wound to the chest.

“We will never know what led Harris to killing Karl that day, but we do know that if Harris hadn’t chosen to carry a knife, three children would have their dad and Harris wouldn’t be facing a life sentence in prison.”

Harris’s defence counsel, David Mason QC, said Mr Gallagher became aggressive to the defendant’s friends, Express and Star reported.

The lawyer said Harris tried to step in and diffuse the situation, leading Mr Gallagher to square up to Harris, and ask: “Are you stupid? You know who I am? – I’m going to shoot you in your face.”

Harris claimed to have seen Mr Gallagher posing on social media with a firearm previously.

Four other men were arrested on suspicion of murder, and a further four men were arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.

They were all released without charge.

Harris, of Helvellyn Way, West Bromwich, West Mids., will be sentenced on April 30.