/Killer jailed for murdering landlord outside pub

Killer jailed for murdering landlord outside pub

Lee AbbottImage copyright
Cheshire Police

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Lee Abbott admitted manslaughter but denied murder

A man who murdered a landlord who barred him from his pub for “bragging about carrying a knife” has been jailed for at least 28 years.

Lee Abbott stabbed Christian Thornton, 11 times in the space of 21 seconds outside the Hammer and Pincers in Widnes, Cheshire, in August.

He “saw red” over the ban and stabbed the 49-year-old father-of-three.

Abbott, 35, was found guilty of murder following a trial at Liverpool Crown Court and was given a life sentence.

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Media captionLee Abbott confronted Mr Thornton outside the pub after he was barred

During the trial, the jury was told Mr Thornton was on the phone to police to report Abbott when he attacked him following a “heated exchange”.

Prosecutor David McLachlan QC said Abbott was “heavily intoxicated”.

Abbott had been asked to leave by Mr Thornton and started to walk away before running back towards him, pulling a knife from a backpack and fatally stabbing him, Cheshire Police said.

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Family photograph

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Christian Thornton’s murder “left three children without their father, and his wife… lost a loving husband”

Abbott, of Rose Street, Widnes, had been barred from all pubs in the area for 12 months as part of the PubWatch scheme after threatening to burn down Mr Thornton’s premises.

In a statement, Mr Thornton’s wife Pam said: “Lee Abbott not only took my husband’s life but also destroyed my life and the lives of our three children.

“Since that day, the indescribable pain I have lived with has been multiplied as I watch our children try to come to terms with losing their dad in such a violent way.

“They do so with dignity and strength that would make their dad proud.”

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