Man who stabbed Irish neighbour to death in drunken row in London given life sentence

A man has been jailed for life for stabbing his neighbour to death following a drunken row.

Darryn Madigan, 38, claimed he accidentally plunged a kitchen knife into 45-year-old Irishman John Martin's body as they fell into bushes in the early hours of August 7 last year.

An Old Bailey jury found him guilty of murder and he was sentenced to life in jail with a minimum term of 16 years.

Prosecutor Oliver Glasgow QC had said the defendant had attacked his neighbour in the front garden of his flat in Doreen Avenue, north-west London.

He had armed himself with a 20cm long kitchen knife and plunged the blade into Mr Martin's rib cage and through the heart.

Mr Martin, who fell into a bush, was pronounced dead at the scene.

John Martin.

The bare-chested defendant was found covered in blood and smelling of alcohol outside the house.

Afterwards, he told police that he had waved the knife to "try and scare him off".

He said: "His head came into contact with mine. I think he butted me.

"I remember falling into the bushes. I was stunned by the impact of his head hitting me. I realised during the struggle that the knife had gone into him."

Madigan denied murder but admitted manslaughter and claimed he was scared of the victim, who had threatened to kill him.

Mr Martin, originally from Donore, County Meath, had been out with his girlfriend and returned home drunk in a minicab at about 2.50am.

He was allegedly heard shouting up at the defendant's window in an abusive and threatening way.

Mr Glasgow told jurors: "Thus it is that you are likely to hear evidence about the behaviour of John Martin that some of you may find unpalatable - the fact he was drunk and abusive may do little to endear him to you.

"However, none of that provides the defendant with a defence to murder, nor could it, since the mere fact that someone is drunk and abusive could never justify killing that person in cold blood."

Mr Glasgow said that the defendant claimed he picked up the knife to protect himself as he was "scared" of the victim.

Also he would say he accidentally stabbed him when they fell to the ground.

But the prosecutor told jurors the explanation he stabbed him twice by accident in a fall was "far fetched".

Following the conviction, Detective Inspector Joe Daly, from Scotland Yard, said: "We are pleased Madigan has been brought to account for what was a vicious attack that arose out of a minor verbal altercation.

"It has devastated John's girlfriend and his wider family."

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