Killer who mur­dered mate has term cut

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - News­ @MENnews­desk

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.”

Jo­van Martin

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