Peterborough man who stabbed father-to-be to death given life sentence
A man has been jailed for life after murdering a young father-to-be with a single stab wound to the heart.
Tyler Smith, 23, launched the attack on 30-year-old Nicholas Bonner, known to family and friends as Nicky, in Stanground, Peterborough on 5 January in a dispute over drugs.
Today at Cambridge Crown Court Smith was given a life sentence, with a minimum of 21 years before he is eligible for parole.
During a trial at the court, which concluded this week, a jury heard how police and paramedics were called to a house in Southfields Drive at about 4.30pm on January 5 where Nicky died of a stab wound to the chest.
The investigation found that in the hours leading up to the murder, Nicky had been with friends at the Southfields Drive property when he spoke on the phone with Smith.
Nicky then left with a friend to buy cigarettes and alcohol from Tesco, in Whittlesey Road.
While on their way back, a silver Vauxhall Astra approached and Smith got out to speak to Nicky. Things became heated and Smith stabbed him.
Smith was driven off by 36-year-old Kristopher White, while Nicky ran back to Southfields Drive where he collapsed.
Shortly after, Smith disposed of the knife in a drain and called a family member asking for a change of clothes and a lift to his partner’s home in Market Deeping.
Smith, of Sandpiper Drive, Peterborough, was arrested in Market Deeping at 4am the following morning.
White, of Myrtle House Caravan Park, Peterborough, was arrested in Peterborough later that day.
Smith denied murder, while White later admitted assisting an offender for driving Smith away from the scene.
White will be sentenced at a later date.
Sentencing, Judge David Farrell QC told Smith: “The reason you attacked Nicholas Bonner in the street had, at its roots, drugs.
“This is sadly yet another case in this county where class A drugs supply has resulted in yet another knife murder.
“I am sure that this was not a meeting by chance, and that you went to the location of Tesco looking for him.
“You knew that was where he was going to be because he told you over the phone in the conversation that took place earlier that afternoon.
“You saw him and you decided to confront him. You had armed yourself with a large kitchen knife which you took from your mum’s house earlier that day.
“Upon seeing him you got out of White’s Astra and clearly armed yourself with a knife. A confrontation took place during the course of which you punched him, and stabbed him in the chest with a degree of force such that you went through is clothes and through his heart.
“Nicholas, probably to your surprise, ran away and you decided not to chase him. He managed to run to his sister’s house a few hundred metres away but he collapsed, and despite the efforts of paramedics and others to save him, sadly died as a result.”
Judge Farrell added that he was content Smith had not in fact intended to kill Nicky, but instead had intended to cause him serious harm.
He said: “You did not pursue him and you displayed clear shock when you discovered after the event that he had, in fact, died.”
Judge Farrell sentenced Smith to life in prison, with a minimum of 21 years before he would be eligible for parole.
He said Smith’s age and immaturity were “significant mitigating factors” together with the fact he was suffering with depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) at the time.
He also commended two police staff members from the Beds, Cambs and Herts Major Crime Unit (MCU) - Claire Reed for her “crucial” work in putting together the CCTV and evidence and analyst David Stacey for his work behind the scenes.
Detective Chief Inspector Rob Hall, who investigated, said: “This attack resulted in the tragic loss of a young life.
“Nicky had his whole life ahead of him, but it was taken away by Smith’s utterly senseless actions which are thought to have stemmed from a drugs dispute.
“My thoughts and deepest sympathies remain with Nicky’s loved ones and I only hope that today’s verdict can provide them with some measure of closure as they learn to live with their loss.”