British man stabbed best friend to death after complaining about his 'better life'

A jealous man who attacked a couple with a large kitchen knife after complaining about his best friend's "better life" is facing life behind bars for murder.

Bradley Wood (aged 25) knifed Lee Hatley 29 times in the head, neck and chest during an impromptu house party at his new girlfriend's home.

Mr Hatley (aged 29) had shouted to neighbours for help, saying he had been stabbed "everywhere" and Wood was responsible.

As he lay dying, his last words were "tell my Mum I love her" and "help the girl", jurors heard.

Lauren Egan-Perkins (aged 22) had been asleep in bed when she too was stabbed in the neck in the early hours of June 26.

Following an Old Bailey trial, Wood was found guilty of murder and wounding Ms Egan-Perkins with intent.

The defendant bowed his head and members of the victim's family quietly said "yes" as the unanimous verdicts were delivered.

Jurors had heard the couple had only met a few weeks before and Ms Egan-Perkins said they "fancied each other but had not entered into a sexual relationship".

During a get-together at her flat in Islington, north London, they had drunk vodka and smoked cannabis when Wood became "paranoid" and "resentful" of Mr Hatley.

Murder victim Lee Hatley
Murder victim Lee Hatley

Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC said he had started to talk about how young father Mr Hatley had a "better life" than his.

He told jurors: "During the time that they were all together there had been some concerns about the defendant. He had been paranoid that people were after him.

"He had also started to talk of how Hatley had enjoyed a better life than his own because he had been in foster care and prison.

"Careful assessment will be required of those sources of apparent resentment on the defendant's part against his friend and his paranoid behaviour, given what was to happen in the early hours of that morning."

After the attacks, Wood fled to Northampton and allegedly explained: "It got out of hand, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Days later he went to Islington police station and said in a prepared statement there had been a struggle and he never meant to hurt Mr Hatley.

But Mr Atkinson told jurors that the defendant had attacked his unarmed friend "offensively and in anger".

Both victims had been stabbed with a large kitchen knife picked up in the flat.

After Mr Hatley died, a chip from the blade was recovered from his brain, jurors heard.

Wood had been living with his parents in Islington and was in regular contact with his probation officer, who he was due to meet later on June 26, the court heard.

Giving evidence, Wood explained he had gone to prison for biting someone on the cheek, but claimed it had not been his fault.

Judge Mark Dennis QC adjourned sentencing until Friday.

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