A man who stabbed his uncle to death then stole his bank card to go out drinking has been found guilty of murder.
Steven Arnold, 51, plunged a kitchen knife repeatedly into Michael Fletcher, 66, at the victim’s home in Luton, Bedfordshire, on September 30 last year.
Afterwards he disposed of the knife in a wheelie bin then met up with his flatmate Barry Gavin, also aged 51.
Following a trial at the Old Bailey, Arnold was found guilty of murder and Gavin was convicted of an alternative charge of manslaughter.
The court had heard how the pair used the victim’s bank card to withdraw £240 in cash and spent the day drinking together after the killing.
While at a pub, the defendants were seen “raising their glasses to what was a successful plan”, prosecutor Martin Mulgrew said.
A barman also recalled them donating a total of £60 to a charity collection and buying drinks.
Asked how he could afford it, Gavin told the barman he was “a bit flush”, the court heard.
Shortly before 7pm that day, Gavin called police and reported that Arnold had stabbed Mr Fletcher.
However, the prosecution said Arnold had gone to the victim’s home that day with a settled plan to “do over” his uncle and rob him of money.
After he was given up by his co-defendant, Gavin continued using the stolen bank card, jurors were told.
Following his arrest, Arnold admitted being responsible for the killing.
He told police he had visited the victim to apologise for a disagreement when Mr Fletcher charged at him with a knife.
As they wrestled with each other, Arnold claimed a “red mist” descended and he lost his temper.
The defendants, of Butterworth Path, Luton, both denied murder and an alternative charge of manslaughter.
PA Archive/PA Images)
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A jury deliberated over two days to reach unanimous verdicts.
Gavin, who was acquitted of murder, had previously pleaded guilty to the fraudulent misuse of Mr Fletcher’s bank card.
Judge Anne Molyneux remanded the defendants into custody until sentencing on October 29.
Detective Inspector Iain Macpherson, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, which led the investigation, said: “We will never understand what caused Arnold to launch such a sustained and vicious attack on Mr Fletcher.
“The motive was robbery but the number and nature of the injuries were out of all proportion.
“Arnold and Gavin went out drinking in the hours after the attack, using money stolen from Mr Fletcher’s bank account, and they showed very little remorse.
“It is extraordinary that they were seen raising their glasses to one another in the immediate aftermath of such a brutal act.
“Our thoughts remain with Mr Fletcher’s family.”