Death was manslaughter

The tearful family of a "loving father" stabbed to death in a row over an egg-throwing prank spoke of their anger yesterday as a teenager was found guilty of manslaughter.

The tearful family of a "loving father" stabbed to death in a row over an egg-throwing prank spoke of their anger yesterday as a teenager was found guilty of manslaughter.

A Norwich Crown Court jury took just over six hours to reach a majority verdict. The youth cannot be named for legal reasons. He was 15 when he knifed John Cumby after a confrontation in Yarmouth.

The youth was remanded in custody and will be sentenced next month.

Speaking in tears, Mr Cumby's mother, Susan Horler, said: "I think he should have got more."

She was comforted by members of her family who said the conviction for manslaughter for killing their brother and leaving a seven-year-old girl without a father sent out the wrong message.

The seven-day trial heard that the tragedy unfurled in Byron Road, Yarmouth, in February when the 30-year-old scaffolder tried to see if he could wrap a real egg in a Cadbury's Creme Egg wrapper and then tried to throw it over the roof of a nearby house.

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It ended up smashing against a window of a house where the youth lived with his family, who had been the victims of anti-social behaviour.

Mr Cumby was confronted by the youth, stabbed in the heart and staggered back home.

He told his mother "I love you" moments before his death later that evening at the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston.

The teenager denied murder and claimed he was "not thinking at all" at the time of the incident and feared for his own safety.

After the verdict, Mr Cumby's brother, Doyle Horler, 28, said: "This gives out the message that you can go out and do this and only get manslaughter.

"John had problems. He had just split up with his girlfriend, the mother of his daughter, and he was just getting his life back on track. He'd just signed on to a new job so he could get a flat so his daughter could come and stay with him.

"Now this youth is probably looking at a sentence that's going to bring him out before he's 20, and he'll have his whole life - but John's daughter won't have a father."

His sister, Chrissie Horler, said: "The things that have been said about John in court make him out to be a bad person. We were just normal people trying to get on with our lives, and then this happens."

The family had also issued a statement which said: "John was a loving father and left behind his seven-year-old daughter. He had his daughter every weekend without fail and was very loving and devoted to her.

"He was one of the politest people you could ever meet. He would do anything for you and was very much loved by everyone. He will be greatly missed and never forgotten."