North Walsham stabbing: Man charged with murder

A man will appear in court charged with murder more than two years after a late-night stabbing in a busy market town.

A man will appear in court charged with murder more than two years after a late-night stabbing in a busy market town.

Troy Tkaczek was today charged with murder by Norfolk police in connection with a stabbing in North Walsham market place in August 2005 in which two teenagers were hurt.

The charge relates to one of the victims, 19-year-old Sam Armstrong, who died in January, 17 months after the attack.

A top-level review of the case involving the Attorney General, the chief legal adviser to the government, has been carried out since Mr Armstrong's death.

The charge is being brought in the light of a change in the law. Legislation formerly prevented murder charges being brought if an attack and a subsequent death were separated by more than a year and a day. But this law - referred to as the 'year and a day rule' - was scrapped by an act of parliament in 1996.

The new rules required the consent of the Attorney General before any charge could be brought. This consent has recently been granted.

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Det Sgt Paul Morton said today: “After a long consultation between myself and the Crown Prosecution Service and a review of the evidence, an application was made to the Attorney General, who ultimately addresses the charges in cases of this nature.

“The Attorney General came back to us and gave the go ahead.

“This is the first case of this type in Norfolk.”

Tkaczek, who is aged 22, will appear before magistrates in Yarmouth this Friday. The hearing is likely to name a date for a crown court hearing in the coming weeks.

Detectives said Mr Armstrong's family have been kept fully informed of developments but did not wish to make public comment at this stage.

The 'year and a day rule' developed from ancient common law and became part of the definition of murder because of the difficulty in proving whether death was due to the injury inflicted or to natural causes. The rule was abolished because of advances in medical treatment which have in many cases extended the lives of victims with extremely serious injuries, sometimes for many years and often in comas or vegetative states.

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