Man found guilty of murder after stabbing friend

A man has been found guilty of murdering his friend after stabbing him in a flat.

Michael Beach, 46, of Ruspidge Road, Cinderford, was on trial at Gloucester Crown Court after Scott Hopkins was stabbed to death on 8 December last year.

Jurors heard paramedics arrived at a flat in Cinderford to find Mr Hopkins with a large knife wound.

Beach, who claimed he stabbed Mr Hopkins by accident, was remanded in custody.

The court heard Beach and Mr Hopkins had been out drinking with another friend, Phillip Parry, at the Upper Bilson Inn in Cinderford and were in good spirits when they returned to Mr Parry's flat.

Beach claimed Mr Hopkins followed him into the kitchen before he was stabbed by accident, the jury was told.

He claimed he picked up a kitchen knife to chop up some cannabis, but when he turned around, Mr Hopkins "walked straight into the knife".

But Richard Posner, prosecuting, told the jury the evidence suggested he was not telling the truth.

'So much blood'

"It is the prosecution’s case that Mr Beach used the knife as a weapon," he said.

"We say he murdered Mr Hopkins, having stabbed him in the chest with a large kitchen knife and by doing so he intended to cause him at the very least serious harm.

"That intention caused Mr Hopkins to die."

The court heard Beach told Mr Parry that Mr Hopkins had collapsed on the kitchen floor at about 22:00.

Mr Parry "immediately" called emergency services, reporting that he was with an unconscious man with blood coming out of his mouth, the jury was told.

He began performing CPR while Beach flagged down paramedics outside.

When the crew arrived, Beach told them Mr Hopkins was dead, the court heard.

'Freak accident'

Mr Posner told the jury: "There was so much blood on the floor that the circumstances could not have been an accident.

"The paramedics found the stab wound, a nine centimetre deep laceration that had nicked Mr Hopkins’ heart and lung.

"Mr Beach is then alleged to have said, 'I've killed him' and he further explained, 'We were just arguing'."

Paramedics stopped CPR at 23:00 and Mr Hopkins was declared dead eight minutes later.

Beach denied murder, but admitted manslaughter, maintaining Mr Hopkins' death was "a freak accident".

He is due to be sentenced on Monday.

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