Image source, West Midlands Police

A father and two sons have pleaded guilty to manslaughter after a man died when they attacked him and stole two Rolex watches.

Darren Smith was found with serious head injuries outside shops on Heath Way in Shard End, Birmingham, on 15 March. He later died at the scene.

Lee O’Brien, 53, Luke O’Brien, 36, and Lewis O’Brien, 31, were charged with murder but admitted the lesser charge.

The three men – who knew Mr Smith – will be sentenced on 16 November.

Image source, West Midlands Police

West Midlands Police said Mr Smith was “ambushed” and “repeatedly kicked and punched” by the men, when he had visited a shop to buy a phone case in March.

The 51-year-old was also hit “multiple times” with a wrench before he walked “unsteadily” out of the shop and collapsed nearby, the force said.

The three men had stolen two Rolex watches from Mr Smith’s wrist and threatened shop staff before they fled the scene.

They were arrested the following day in Torquay, Devon.


Det Insp Michelle Thurgood said: “We know that Lee, Luke and Lewis all knew Darren, but only they know why they targeted him that day.

“My thought’s remain with Mr Smith’s family at this distressing time, I hope that these pleas bring them some sense of justice being done.”

Mr Smith’s family previously paid tribute to him and described him as “a caring man [who] was loved by all who knew him”.

“He was tragically taken from us and this has left a huge void in our lives,” they added.

They will be sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court.

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 Darren Smith was found with serious head injuries outside a phone shop in March.