Teen Jailed Over Luton Party Stabbing

A Luton teenager who killed a New Year's Eve party host with a single stab wound has been sentenced to six years in custody for manslaughter.

Ryan Curtis, 19, was originally charged with the murder of 42 year old Michael Geffken, but at Luton Crown Court his guilty plea to the alternative charge of manslaughter was accepted by the prosecution.

Mr Geffken was killed in the early hours of New Year's Day this year as he tried to get guests at the party to leave.

Beverley Cripps, prosecuting, said the party was at the home of Mr Geffken's fiancee in Helmsley Close, Luton.

Curtis, who was 18 at the time, had introduced the couple to each other some time before.

There were a number of teenagers at the party and many of the guests had been drinking heavily.

At about 2.30am, Mr Geffken was trying to get people to go home and ended up shouting and brandishing a crutch, the court was told.

"He lost his temper because they were refusing to leave," said Miss Cripps.  "Curtis' girlfriend pushed him in the chest and he threatened to break her nose.  Ryan Curtis became angry and ran into the kitchen to get a knife and stabbed him once."

Curtis, of Gilderdale, Luton, ran off but handed himself into police on January 2, telling them "I am here to confess."

He said in interview "I panicked, I did not think.  I just swung the knife. I did not even know I had stabbed him.  People do not always die when they are stabbed."

Lewis Power QC, defending, said "This is one of those rare and sad cases where in a split second so many people's lives take a momumental turn.

"Ryan Curtis was inconsolable at the time and inconsolable he remains.  He lies awake at night re-living his actions and is wracked with guilt for taking another life.

"His actions are incomprehensible to those who know him as a thoroughly decent young man."

Judge Richard Foster told Curtis "Michael Geffken was perfectly entitled to ask those in the house to leave, and there is no doubt he lost his temper when others refused to go.

"Your good sense and judgement were affected by alcohol and you over reacted and, instead of persuading your girlfriend to leave, you armed yourself with a knife and took away the most precious commodity - a life.

"I accept you did not intend to cause him serious injury, let alone kill him, but it is an aggravating feature that you armed yourself with a knife. But for that, these events might never occurred."