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17 November 2014, 11:22
A man from Middlesbrough's been sentenced for the manslaughter of his friend, who he stabbed in a fight in the street.
Craig Conway will spend 6 years behind bars for the fatal stabbing of his friend Simon Bennett.
He was cleared of the Middlesbrough barber’s murder on Friday, but admitted manslaughter.
The 30 year old, of Epworth Green, Pallister Park had always denied murdering 28 year old Bennett.
His victim was found stabbed in the heart in The Greenway in Thorntree, on the night of May 8th.
The two men, who'd known each other since they were children, had been fighting in the street.
Known to friends as “Simo”, Mr Bennett worked as a barber and lived in Netherfields in Middlesbrough.
He was taken to hospital where he died from “catastrophic blood loss” at 12.25am.
During his two-week trial at Teesside Crown Court, Conway said he had not intended to fight Mr Bennett and he was not armed.
He denied prosecution allegations that he had taken a weapon along to a pre-arranged fight with Mr Bennett.
Conway said Mr Bennett was fighting him and, “fearing a beating”, the defendant picked up something from the ground and swung it at the victim.
The defendant said he then panicked and drove off on a motorbike.
Conway claimed he didn’t know what it was that he used to stab Mr Bennett or what had happened to it.
The weapon has never been found.
After fleeing the scene he handed himself in at Middlehaven Police Station.
Sentencing Conway, the judge said:
"Craig Conway, you took the life of Simon Bennett. It as quite obvious that Simon Bennett did not deserve to die.
He died over a petty argument over something of no consequence at all.
This sentence that I pass cannot begin to compensate his family for their loss.
It may be the sentence I pass will be considered by them to be wholly inadequate.
They should know that the sentence I pass will be substantially directed by the guidance given to me by the Court of Appeal.
He leaves behind a mother, a lady who has throughout these proceedings showed dignity and restraint, a family, all of whom have been devastated by your senseless and wicked act, and a young son, just six years old, who will now grow up never to know his father."