A MURDERER has been jailed for life after launching an unprovoked attacked on a teenager at a birthday party.
Robert Heneghan was told he must serve at least 19 years behind bars after stabbing 19-year-old Sam Bee in an act of “senseless brutality” – and then lying about behaving in self defence.
Heneghan, who is also 19, and from Palatine Road, South Shore, sat impassively in the dock at Preston Crown Court yesterday as Mr Justice Leggatt told him he was a “serious danger to the public”.
Mr Bee’s body was discovered with a single stab wound to the chest in the rear yard of a hotel on Dean Street, in August last year after he fled the party fatally injured.
His 21-year-old sister, Sarah Bee, was the only witness to what happened.
Mr Justice Leggatt, who presided over Heneghan’s six-day trial, said: “You lied when you claimed Sam Bee attacked you and you were acting in self defence.
“These lies not only slandered the man you killed but meant his sister had to give evidence and relive in public the circumstances of her brother’s death.
“The consequences have been devastating, not only for Sam Bee whose life you ended but for his sister who saw him stabbed in front of her eyes and whose life has been scarred by what you did.”
Miss Bee had described to the court how her brotherhad attempted to play peacemaker after a fight between Heneghan and his best friend.
Heneghan told Mr Bee to be quiet and she lashed out at him – which eventually led to Heneghan walking into the kitchen, picking up a knife and stabbing to death the South Shore factory worker.
The judge said the jury’s unanimous guilty verdict showed they believed the harrowing evidence Miss Bee had given about what happened in her flat that evening.
He told Heneghan: “Sam Bee had done you no harm. He had not threatened or attacked you, he had done nothing to provoke you.
“His only offence was to make light of the fact you had got into a fight with your best friend. (You made a) deliberate decision to go and get a knife from the kitchen.
“That element of calculation and the senseless brutality of stabbing to death a young man who had done you no wrong must significantly increase the minimum term of your sentence.”
And he added that when Mr Bee died – having scaled a fence to hide in the hotel yard – he must have been “terrified” Heneghan was going to continue his attack.
Heneghan was handed a life sentence and will serve a minimum of 19 years.