Man jailed for killing friend

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A MAN who carried out a fatal stabbing at a flat in Lancaster has been given an indeterminate jail sentence.

Hugh McMahon was cleared by a jury of murder, but convicted of manslaughter. He must serve a minimum of six years and 363 days before the parole board can consider his case.

McMahon, from Morecambe, accepted that he caused a knife wound which penetrated the heart of 41-year-old Colin Wilson, but had claimed to a jury in his trial that he had acted in self defence while trying to get him to back off.

McMahon, 42, had denied murder and an alternative charge of manslaughter over the death of Mr Wilson last November. He died following a single stab wound in the living room of a flat on Cawthorne Street in the city. McMahon was sentenced today, Tuesday, by Judge Anthony Russell QC.

The unanimous verdicts, not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter, were delivered by a jury on Monday following a trial at Preston Crown Court.

Both the defendant and Mr Wilson had a connection with drugs and had spent time together that weekend.

McMahon had said in evidence that he had fallen asleep in the living room that evening and woke up to discover some of his drugs had gone.

An argument arose and he claimed that Mr Wilson threw a punch at him, but missed before making a rush at him. The defendant had grabbed hold of a knife from the coffee table. He told the court “I just wanted him to back off”.

Judge Anthony Russell QC said: “One blow was delivered in temper.

“It seems to me you lose your temper quickly and resort to weapons when you do so.”

He told McMahon he accepted the offence was not premeditated.

The Scottish-born defendant accepted that he has convictions that include wounding with intent, for which he was given 47 months jail at Lancaster Crown Court in April 1994.

In December 1990 at Hamilton Sheriff Court he got nine months jail for serious assault where a knife was used.

McMahon told the court he had been homeless at the time of the fatality.