Life for teenager who stabbed friend

A TEENAGER wept as he was sentenced to life for the murder of a friend who he stabbed through the heart with a kitchen knife. Christopher Ball, 18, sobbed in the dock as Judge Findlay Baker QC told him he must serve at least 10 years before he can be cons

A TEENAGER wept as he was sentenced to life for the murder of a friend who he stabbed through the heart with a kitchen knife.

Christopher Ball, 18, sobbed in the dock as Judge Findlay Baker QC told him he must serve at least 10 years before he can be considered for parole.

Ball had been drinking alcohol and had taken cannabis and cocaine before he clashed with David Paine, who was angry about the way Ball treated his girlfriend.

In a row earlier that night, 17-year-old David had punched and head-butted Ball.


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Back at Ball's home in Broad Oak Way, Stevenage, the pair clashed again. When David got the better of the fight, Ball took the knife from the kitchen and stabbed him.

David, who worked in a bike shop in Stevenage and was a keen freestyle rider, was pronounced dead in hospital. The knife had penetrated his heart and left lung to a depth of 12 to 15 centimetres.

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Ball was arrested at his girlfriend's home three hours later.

He said: "I didn't mean to do it - he is my mate."

He said he had drunk half a bottle of vodka and had smoked three joints.

Ball pleaded not guilty to murdering David, of Leaves Spring, Stevenage, on January 28 this year, but was convicted after a week-long trial and appeared for sentence at St Albans Crown Court on Friday.

Defence barrister Adrian Amer said Ball was "extremely remorseful".

He added: "He could not believe he had killed his friend. It will be on his mind and on his conscience for the rest of his life."

Judge Baker told Ball: "You stabbed your friend David Paine to death. You did so after a long night in which you drank a lot of alcohol and had consumed strong cannabis and some cocaine."

The judge said he acknowledged the regret Ball felt in a letter sent to him. He described David's death as a "tragedy" and expressed his "sincere condolences to his family."

In a statement, David's family said: "He lived for his bike. David was a son to be proud of who wished to join the Army and was filling in his entry form, but never got the chance to send it off."

'A life sentence of bereavement' for family

AFTER Christopher Ball was led away to start his life sentence, Det Chief Insp Mick Hanlon from the major crime task force, who led the investigation, said: "Our thoughts are with David's family at this difficult time.

"This is a tragic case which has led to the needless loss of one young man's life and ruined the life of another.

"Christopher Ball will now spend the majority of his early adult life in prison being punished for a decision he made on January 28 without any thought and consideration for the consequences.

"David's death could have been avoided had he and Christopher sorted out their differences in a mature and adult manner.

"Instead Christopher armed himself with a knife and took away David's future and his own.

"Christopher had been drinking alcohol prior to the incident and we believe that this contributed to his actions that night. This should serve as a warning to all of the often tragic consequences of excess drinking."

David's mum Jackie said: "Whatever sentence Christopher has been given our family has a life sentence of bereavement.

"We will never have closure but we hope we can now find a way of learning to live without David. One day I hope I can go to bed at night and not cry myself to sleep."

She added: "The Constabulary's recent knife amnesty has raised the profile of knife crime and this is just one sad example of what can happen when a knife gets into the wrong hands.

If I could send one message out to other young people as a result of my son's death it would be that it takes more guts to walk away than it does to fight. The bigger man always walks away.

"The whole area where we live has been affected by this incident and I would like to thank everyone for their support and kindness through these hard times.

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