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23 June 2015, 06:17
A 47-year-old man from Bedford has been jailed for life after pleading guilty to the murder of another man at a flat in Byron Crescent in the town in January of this year.
Ian Brunner stabbed John-Mark Duffy in the chest after after they had been drinking and smoking cannabis.
At Luton crown court Judge Richard Foster passed the life sentence and told Brunner he must serve a minimum of twelve and a half years before he could be considered for parole.
The court was told that both Mr Duffy who was 39 and his killer was members of the "town centre drinking community" in Bedford.
In January of this year the pair along with other men were drinking in the town one morning.
Later in the day both were at the flat of another man in Byron Crescent.
It had been the home of Mr Duffy for the last few years and Brunner too had been staying their in the weeks leading up to the killing.
Anne Evans prosecuting the two men had previously had a fight.
She said "On that occasion John-Mark Duffy had physically got the better of the defendant."
Mrs Evans said that day the men together with the man whose flat it was, Steve Matthews, had been "drinking and using cannabis."
She went on They returned to Mr Mathews flat during the afternoon and smoked some more cannabis. At some point Mr Matthews remembers Mr Duffy asking Ian to make a joint, it seems he couldn't find any and Mr Duffy started to get agitated."
The court then heard how both men moved out into the hallway and Mr Matthews could hear raised voices.
They came back into the living room and began grappling with each other.
Mrs Evans said the deceased suddenly lifted his t-shirt and said he had been stabbed and asked Mr Matthews to phone for an ambulance
The prosecutor said Mr Matthews could see a lot of blood over Mr Duff's t-shirt and a small would in his chest area.
Moments later he began to lose consciousness and fell to the floor.
Ian Brunner left the flat and Mr Duffy died at the scene.
The defendant was found shortly afterwards walking along Church Road.
On being arrested and cautioned he replied "He's not dead is he. I didn't intend to kill anyone."
Asked where the knife was he claimed he had disposed of it in Shakespeare Road, but the court was told it has never been found.
A pathologist found the fatal wound to be 7.5cm deep to his anterior chest.
In an interview with detectives he said he had gone into the kitchen at the flat in order to arm himself with a knife for protection.
He said when he walked back into the living room Mr Duffy had tried to grab hold of him and so he removed the knife from the waistband of his trousers and moved forward intending to stab the other man in his upper arm to disable him.
Brunner said he was not sure where the blade connected and he claimed he just wanted to teach the other man a lesson for being a bully.
He said the deceased man had been his friend and he hadn't intended to kill him
The court heard that as a youngster the victim had been gifted and talented excelling in his lessons and keen on sports.
But in his late teens he had started taking heroin which was to change his life completely.