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Court hears how Whitehaven man, 61, stabbed next door neighbour

Gerard Martin Murphy outside Carlisle Crown Court

A MAN has admitted attacking his next door neighbour with a knife in Whitehaven.

Carlisle Crown Court heard how Brakeside Gardens residents Gerard Martin Murphy, 61, and Ian O’Fee had initially got on well, before relations “deteriorated”.

On the morning of May 21, a comment by Murphy about Mr O’Fee’s son led to an exchange of words. And, several hours later, Murphy approached his neighbour’s home, holding a five-inch blade in front of him which he pointed while “smiling”. Initially Mr O’Fee believed any threats were “empty”, but Murphy then thrust the knife repeatedly towards his chest area, causing two puncture wounds.

Police body-cam footage from the scene played in court showed Mr O’Fee stood wearing a blood-stained polo shirt and bleeding from one of the wounds. Prosecutor Anthony Parkinson said the injured man – airlifted to hospital and later discharged – had told an officer he feared “he was going to die”.

Initially arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, Murphy appeared at the crown court and admitted a lesser actual bodily harm assault charge and having a bladed article in public.

A probation officer told Judge Brian Cummings QC that Murphy had expressed “what appeared to be genuine remorse”, and that he was a “vulnerable individual” for whom prison was “likely to destabilise already fragile emotional wellbeing”.

Judge Cummings deferred sentence to allow Murphy – who is bailed to an address outside of Cumbria – to find more permanent accommodation away from Brakeside Gardens. Punishment is due to be handed down on August 5, with the judge indicating he was minded to impose a suspended jail term.

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