Murderer jailed for stabbing a man during a row

A 44-year-old man has been jailed for life after murdering a man during an argument.

Vincent Sparkes, of Station Road in Swindon, headbutted and then stabbed Neil Bambrick, 41, in Broad Street, Swindon, in July.

Sparkes was found guilty at Bristol Crown Court on Monday and in the same hearing was given a life sentence and ordered to spend a minimum of 17 and a half years in prison.

The victim's family said following the verdict that Mr Bambrick's death had "left a big hole in our hearts".

Wiltshire Police's Det Ch Insp Phil Walker said: "Neil would still be alive if Sparkes did not have a knife that day."

At about 20:55 BST on 11 July, Sparkes headbutted Mr Bambrick then pulled out a knife and stabbed him in the chest during an argument.

Mr Bambrick, who was not carrying a weapon, was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries and died in the early hours of the following morning.

In his police interview Sparkes said he had used the knife "in the heat of the moment", the senior investigating officer said.

'Happy, loving character'

Mr Bambrick's family said he would "never be forgotten", and added they were "so happy we got the outcome that we wanted".

“Justice has been served.

“Neil was sadly stolen away from us through knife crime – it's left a big hole in our hearts.

“If you knew Neil, he was such a happy, friendly, loving character who would do anything for anyone.

“Nothing was a problem, if he could help you he would."

After sentencing Det Ch Insp Walker said: “Sadly, this split-second decision has cost Neil his life and it demonstrates that had Sparkes not made the decision to carry the knife in the first place, this argument would never have led to Neil’s death.

“Simply put, Neil would still be alive if Sparkes did not have a knife that day."

The news comes during a week-long weapons amnesty to help reduce knife crime.

Earlier, the first permanent surrender bin outside Swindon was installed at the Wiltshire Football Association in Devizes.

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