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US News Kickboxer guilty of murdering pub landlord who barred him

21:40  20 february  2020
21:40  20 february  2020 Source:   news.sky.com

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a close up of a man looking at the camera: Lee Abbott will be sentenced on Friday. © Other Lee Abbott will be sentenced on Friday. A man who stabbed a landlord to death in a frenzied attack after being barred from his pub has been found guilty of murder.

Liverpool Crown Court heard kickboxer Lee Abbott, 35, had been banned from the Hammer and Pincers in Widnes, Cheshire, nine days before the killing after he was heard bragging about carrying a knife.

During an eight-day trial, jurors were told father-of-three Christian Thornton, 49, had also added Abbott to the local Pubwatch list, meaning he was also not allowed to enter any licensed premises in the town.

a close up of a man: Christian Thornton was stabbed 11 times in 21 seconds © Other Christian Thornton was stabbed 11 times in 21 seconds

Despite the ban, Abbott returned to the pub on Liverpool Road on the afternoon of Sunday 11 August 2019.

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Mr Thornton rang the police and asked him to leave and Abbott began to walk away.

But less than thirty seconds later, he turned around and ran back towards the victim, pulling out a knife from his backpack and stabbing him 11 times in 21 seconds.

Abbott (L) attacked Thornton outside his pub in August last year © Other Abbott (L) attacked Thornton outside his pub in August last year Cheshire Police have released a video of the moments leading up to the murder.

In a tweet, the force explained they did so with "full consultation and support from Christian's family", saying it was shown in open court and that it was "an important piece of evidence".

Officers arrived at the scene shortly after and tried to save Mr Thornton's life.

a house with trees in the background: Christian Thornton had been the landlord at the Hammer and Pincers for 16 years © Other Christian Thornton had been the landlord at the Hammer and Pincers for 16 years Paramedics also attended, but despite their best efforts, he died at the scene.

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Witness David Johnson told police: "There was no stopping him, he just ran like a mad man."

Abbott, of Rose Street, Widnes, was arrested around an hour later by armed police at his friend's house nearby.

This was the top worn by Christian Thornton when he was attacked © Other This was the top worn by Christian Thornton when he was attacked He told officers: "You don't need any evidence, I stabbed him to f***."

Abbott admitted manslaughter but denied murder on the grounds he did not have the intent to murder as he was heavily intoxicated and had diminished responsibility on the basis of an abnormality of mental functioning.

The jury was told he was sexually abused by a gangster when he was a teenager.

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

Detective Inspector Kate Tomlinson said Mr Thornton, who had been the landlord for 16 years, was a "well-known character locally", and that he "did so much for local charities and will be greatly missed by many".

She continued: "Abbott's actions that day have torn a family apart and rocked the local community.

"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."

Abbott is due to be sentenced on Friday.

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