Wallsend man guilty of house party murder

Flowers at the scene of the fatal stabbing back in February.

Flowers at the scene of the fatal stabbing back in February.

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A Wallsend man will serve a minimum of 16 years of a life sentence after being found guilty of murder.

Liam Kennedy stabbed Ryan Armstrong during an incident in Burns Closes Crescent, Wallsend, in February.

The jury at Newcastle Crown Court took less than two hours to reach a unanimous verdict.

In a trial that lasted just over a week, it emerged that 25-year-old Mr Armstrong attended the flat of Kennedy’s girlfriend on the night of February 15 this year.

But while an altercation between girls took place in the living room of the Burns Closes Crescent first floor flat during a party, the two men clashed on the landing and Kennedy, 22, fatally wounded Mr Armstrong with a single stab wound to the back.

The wound punctured his skin, damaged muscle, scored two of his ribs and ruptured is aorta, causing an arterial bleed.

Dad of one Kennedy, of Martin Road in Wallsend, denied murder, but said there was a struggle on the landing of the flat and he was defending himself when the injury happened.

But expert evidence said this version of events was scientifically impossible.

In sentencing Kennedy, the Honourable Justice Henry Globe said he had no doubt the emotion of Kennedy was genuine and that he really did not want any of this to happen, and was remorseful for taking someone’s life.

Following the sentence, DCI Christina Barrett, who led the investigation, said: “This was an horrific attack which resulted in the death of Ryan Armstrong and has left his family devastated.

“Kennedy had absolutely no regard for the victim or their family, making them endure a trial.

“We welcome the decision of the jury and hope that it brings some closure for his family to know Kennedy will spend a substantial period behind bars.

“We’d like to thank them for their support and courage throughout this investigation.

“This case highlights the danger of carrying knives and should act as a warning to anyone that carries a knife that their decision could result in an innocent person’s life being taken.

“Thankfully levels of knife crime aren’t as prevalent in the north east as they are in other parts of the country. However we are not complacent and as a force we will continue to take a hard line on anyone involved in any form of knife crime.”