Man guilty of manslaughter after fatal stabbing over £10 drug debt
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A 42-year-old accused of knifing another man to death in the street in a Norfolk town has been convicted of manslaughter.
Thomas Moore, 42, went with his friend Ricky Marshall to retrieve the £10 Mr Marshall said he was owed by Matthew Constantinou for cannabis.
Norwich Crown Court heard the pair turned up at Constantinou’s address, a bungalow where he lived with his mother in Antingham Drive, North Walsham, to get the cash back.
But the men were chased from the address by Constantinou, 42, who was “swinging a baseball bat”.
Jurors were told they were chased onto Bacton Road where, close to the junction of Melbourne Road, Mr Moore was fatally stabbed.
Constantinou, of Antingham Drive, North Walsham had gone on trial having denied murder following the fatal attack on October 2 last year.
A jury of eight men and four women took just over three hours and forty minutes to find Constantinou not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter on Tuesday, May 11.
Constantinou, who was wearing a shirt and trousers in the dock, nodded as the verdict was announced.
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Judge Anthony Bate adjourned sentencing until May 20.
The trial, which has been running since April 26, heard that in the weeks leading up to the fatal stabbing the defendant and Mr Marshall “had a bit of a falling out”.
Peter Gair, prosecuting, said it had been due to the “failure of this defendant to pay a £10 debt” for cannabis.
Mr Marshall texted Constantinou to say he would visit his mum to get the cash back and inform her of his drugs habit to which the defendant texted back “I will gut you".
Mr Marshall and Mr Moore turned up at the defendant's address but were both chased away by Constantinou before the altercation between Constantinou and Mr Moore.
In his evidence to the jury Constantinou said it had been a tug-of-war-struggle" during which Mr Moore was fatally stabbed.
Constantinou said he feared that if he let go of the baseball bat "he would be in for an absolute beating" and also feared what might happen to his mother.
The defendant, who said he picked up a knife which had dropped to the floor in one hand, said he tried to push Mr Moore away before the victim went "quite limp".
He said he had given Mr Moore a "final push" before the victim let go of the baseball bat.
Speaking after the verdict, Detective Inspector Lewis Craske, from Norfolk and Suffolk’s Major Investigation Team, said: "This was a violent attack in which a man has needlessly lost his life over a £10 cannabis debt.
"Regardless of the catalyst for the argument, this case demonstrates that violence is not the answer. There are no winners in this case with lives on both sides affected forever.”