Llanelli: Man who stabbed victim in neck jailed for 28 years

A murderer who killed his victim by stabbing him in the neck with a fishing knife has been jailed.

James Smith, 36, of Nelson Road, Llanelli, murdered Ashley Sarsero, 26, in Llanelli in September.

At Swansea Crown Court, Smith was handed a life sentence and told he would serve a minimum of 28 years in jail before being eligible for parole.

Steven Morgan, also 36, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years for helping Smith flee the scene.

The jury in the three-week trial heard Smith and Morgan had been invited into Mr Sarsero's home in the Maestir area of Felinfoel by his mother, Claire Richards.

She had met both men earlier that night outside a local garage and they had accompanied her back to her property because she was "alone and drunk".

While all three were at the address, Mr Sarsero returned from attending a gig in Swansea and a heated argument ensued which spilled out into the front garden.

It resulted in Smith taking a lock knife from his "bum bag" and stabbing Mr Sarsero in the neck "up to the hilt", a move he claimed had been in self-defence.

He then proceeded to taunt his victim, saying "cry to your mammy" before running away, having been prompted to do so by Morgan who was later arrested at the scene.

James Smith
James Smith stabbed Ashley Sarsero in the neck before taunting him as he lay bleeding to death

Smith, who admitted to having cocaine and various other drugs in his system at the time, turned himself in to the police the following day.

Prior to doing so he attempted to cover his tracks by washing and disposing of clothing and items that might link him to the incident.

Speaking to the court via video link, Mr Sarsero's mother Claire Richards said her "life is no longer the same without her precious, stunning son in it".

"I was the first to look into his eyes when he was born and the last to do so when he died," she added.

Ms Richards said she had been "broken in two" by the loss of her son and admitted to having since spent "days and nights at his graveside" in "sheer agony".

She also condemned Smith for showing no remorse or accepting any responsibility for what he had done.

Appearing in court, Mr Sarsero's partner Jade Jones said her "world had been changed forever" by his death and that she had been left suffering nightmares and panic attacks as a result.

"Ashley will always be the love of my life," she added.

The court also heard that, at the time of Mr Sarsero's murder, Smith had been on bail for brandishing a knife in a Llanelli pub in June 2022.

murder
The murder happened outside the victim's home in Maestir, Llanelli

He had also claimed to have been in possession of a gun and bullets and had threatened to "slit someone's throat".

Sentencing Smith, Judge Daniel Williams said he had to take this separate incident into consideration.

He also said Smith had dozens of other previous offences which ranged from theft and assault to attempted robbery with a machete.

Calling it a "tragedy beyond words" that Smith and Ms Richards' paths had crossed that night, he said the person she had mistaken for a "good Samaritan" was actually "a violent coward with a knife and a short temper".

Sentencing Smith, Judge Williams said unless his release was ordered by the parole board, he would see out the rest of his days in prison.

Steven Morgan
Steven Morgan was sentenced to four-and-a-half years for helping Smith flee the scene

Judge Williams told Morgan that instead of aiding Smith's escape, he should have concentrated on helping Mr Sarsero as he lay injured.

He added that half of Morgan's time would be served in custody and the rest on licence in the community.