Adam Grant had fallen out with neighbour Martin Wyatt over noise at their flats in Mixenden Road, Halifax
A former trainee chef who knifed his neighbour in the heart and then went back to doing his washing up has been jailed for 12 years after jury found him guilty of manslaughter.
Talented darts player and loving father Martin Wyatt, 32, was stabbed in the chest after he banged on his neighbour’s door at a block of flats in Mixenden Road, Halifax , last September.
Bradford Crown Court heard during a five-day trial that Mr Wyatt and his next-door neighbour Adam Grant had fallen out over loud music and rubbish in the hallway and Grant claimed that he had been scared of what might happen if his neighbour had got into his bedsit.
Grant, who had trained as a chef at Calderdale College, deliberately chose a knife with a 20-centimetre blade before opening his front door and striking out at his victim.
The defendant, who had learning difficulties, was then said to have gone back to his sink and wiped the knife before putting it back in its pouch.
When police arrived on the scene Grant told them he had been doing his washing up and hadn’t done anything.
Mr Wyatt died from his injury despite the efforts of the emergency services and Grant was subsequently charged with his murder, but after more than five hours of deliberation a jury found him not guilty.
The court heard that at the time of the stabbing Grant was on police bail for an undisclosed offence and his only previous conviction was for an assault.
The Recorder of Bradford Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC heard moving victim impact statements from Mr Wyatt’s mother and father in which they outlined how their lives had changed forever following his death.
His mother Tracey said seeing her son in the mortuary broke her heart and she kept thinking he would walk through the door, call her or message her.
“I know this will never happen again thanks to Adam Grant who has taken Martin away from us all,” she said in her statement.
His father Philip described how he attended the scene of the stabbing and saw his son covered in blood as the paramedics tried to save his life.
He said that was the start of a nightmare the family were still living and the last six months had been a whirlwind.
“It still doesn’t seem real that Martin is not with us,” he said.
Judge Durham Hall said he was satisfied that the jury’s manslaughter verdict meant they had rejected Grant’s claim to have acted in self defence.
“Much has been said Mr Grant to suggest that you, to some extent, are also a victim here,” said the judge.
“You are not. There is only one victim here that’s the man you killed Martin Wyatt.
“Any suggestion that you had been subjected to bullying was very much, I’m afraid, in your imagination perhaps sadly harking back to your past.”
The judge said on the day of the stabbing Mr Wyatt had been “cross and irritated” when he went to Grant’s door, but the defendant had then deliberately chosen “the largest knife” in his collection before driving it into his victim’s chest.
Judge Durham Hall said Grant did have “major learning difficulties” but he was coping with them and living an independent life.
“Of course the family (of Mr Wyatt) would like nothing else but for me to throw away the key, but the court cannot and will not impose a sentence that is unsustainable,” said the judge.
“The least sentence I can impose Mr Grant upon you, it will not be enough, but it is the right sentence in my judgement reflecting the law and all proper guidance is one of 12 years imprisonment.”
Det Supt Jim Dunkerley, of West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said: “We note the verdict at court.
“A young man has lost his life and a family have lost a much-loved son. I hope that the conclusion of this case helps to provide them with some closure.”