Killer who murdered mate has term cut
A MURDERER who is serving a life sentence for brutally stabbing his best friend to death has failed to overturn his conviction.
But killer Jovan Martin could be freed earlier after his lawyers successfully argued that his minimum jail term was too long.
Martin was ordered to serve a life sentence with a minimum of 27 years for murdering Kyle Hand when a petty row escalated into violence on the streets of Gorton.
His legal team this week challenged both the sentence and conviction in London’s Court of Appeal.
Top judges upheld the jury’s guilty verdict – but agreed the minimum jail term was too long and cut it to 24 years. Martin, 27, of Whitburn Avenue, Longsight, was caged at Preston Crown Court in September last year after being convicted of the murder of Kyle, 28. Mr Hand was stabbed 11 times in Sunny Brow Road, Gorton, on March 21, last year. He had been ‘close friends’ with Martin for many years, Lord Justice Davis told the Appeal court. They were so close that they ‘regarded themselves almost as brothers.’ But they had both been drinking and an ‘argument developed which led to blows being exchanged’ prior to the fatal stabbing. “You lost your temper and you Lord Justice Davis became aggressive,” said the judge who jailed Martin.
“You caused his death not acting in self-defence but in retaliation.”
Although he had not intended to kill Mr Hand, he did intend to cause him grievous bodily harm as an ‘act of revenge.’
Martin was also convicted of wounding with intent, for which he received a 12-year concurrent sentence. That involved a separate attack in October 2015, in which Martin struck a taxi driver with a knife near his eye.
Michael Lavery, defence for Martin at the Court of Appeal, argued that his 27-year minimum term was far too tough. He had not intended to kill his friend and Martin had shown ‘genuine remorse.’
Lord Justice Davis, sitting with Mr Justice Stuart-Smith and Mr Justice Soole, ruled: “A minimum term of 27 years was too long. We quash it and substitute a minimum term of 24 years.”
Also challenging Martin’s murder conviction, Mr Lavery argued jurors should have been allowed to consider ‘loss of control’ as a possible defence.
But Lord Justice Davis said there was ‘simply no sufficient evidence of loss of self-control.’
He concluded: “The judge’s approach was correct and we dismiss the appeal against conviction.”