/Man who stabbed pub landlord to death found guilty of murder

Man who stabbed pub landlord to death found guilty of murder

A man who stabbed a landlord 11 times after he barred him from his pub has been convicted of murder.

Lee Abbott told police “you don’t need any evidence, I stabbed him to f***” as he was arrested after the brutal attack in August last year.

He was convicted of murdering Christian Thornton, 49, outside his pub, the Hammer and Pincers in Widnes, by a jury following an eight-day trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

Mr Thornton, a father-of-three and a well-known character in the town, had banned Abbott from the pub nine days before his death after he was heard bragging about carrying a knife and threatening to burn the premises down.

Pub landlord Christian Thornton was stabbed to death outside his own pub in Widnes
(Image: Cheshire Police)

Despite the ban, Abbott returned to the pub on August 11 and confronted Mr Thornton.

CCTV footage shown during the trial captured Abbott walking away from the pub before turning around, running back towards Mr Thornton, pulling a knife from a backpack and lunging at him.

Mr Thornton was on the phone to police to report Abbott when he stabbed him 11 times in the space of 21 seconds, the court heard.

Paramedics tried to save Mr Thornton but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Following today’s verdict Detective Inspector Kate Tomlinson of Cheshire Police, who led the investigation, said: “Abbott’s actions that day have torn a family apart and rocked the local community.

“Christian was a well-known character locally, he did so much for local charities and will be greatly missed by many.

Lee Abbott has been found guilty of murder
(Image: Cheshire Police)

“Before the incident Abbott had the opportunity to walk away, but instead he made a conscious decision to return and attack Christian, which ultimately resulted in his death.

“This has left three children without their father, and his wife, Pam, has lost a loving husband.

“Their pain has been increased by the fact that they have been made to sit through an 8 day trial and relive what happened on that day.

“The courage and dignity that they have shown throughout this investigation and subsequent trial has been immeasurable.

“Nothing will ever bring Christian back, but I just hope that following today’s verdict all those who knew and loved him can now in some way start to move forward and rebuild their lives.”

Abbott admitted manslaughter but denied murder on the grounds he did not intend to kill Mr Thornton.

CCTV shows the moment just before Lee Abbott stabbed pub landlord Christian Thornton
(Image: Cheshire Police)

The defense argued that he was heavily intoxicated and had diminished responsibility on the basis of an abnormality of mental functioning.

His estranged wife Kerri Abbott told the court Abbott had believed he was Jesus and had episodes where he would “lose touch with reality”.

Abbott is due to be sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday morning.

Original Source