Murderer’s three-word threat to his ex’s dad – which turned into a prophecy

A murderer who plunged a blade into his friend’s chest had three years earlier made a chilling prophecy of what was to come.

After taking a relationship break-up badly, Richard Lee had smashed up his ex-girlfriend and parents’ cars and warned her dad he "would stab him", reports Chronicle Live.

The 25-year-old didn’t, but years later he did drive a knife seven inches into his schoolmate Ryan Thompson’s chest, killing him.

On Friday  he was jailed for life for the dad-to-be’s murder, in a back street in Sacriston, County Durham.

Fuelled by alcohol and cocaine, bare-chested Lee picked up a kitchen knife and searched the streets for youths he thought had stolen some motorbikes from a friend’s garage.

Vowing to stab someone, witnesses said he shouted "nobody does this to Richy Lee" before the tragedy unfolded on September 1 last year.

When 25-year-old Ryan Thompson, the owner of the bikes, arrived on the scene a row between the men erupted.

Lee chased his pal down an alley while "jabbing and lunging with the knife" before stabbing him in the chest, causing a fatal seven-inch wound.

The murderer claimed he caught Ryan in a "wild swing" and was only trying to scare him off.

Newcastle Crown Court heard he’d robbed his victim’s family of a man they all adored.

Jurors found Lee guilty of murder by a majority verdict of 10-2 and of possession of an offensive weapon by an 11-1 majority, following an eight and-a-half hour deliberation.

As he was jailed, his shameful record of violence was finally aired – it had been concealed from the jury during the trial.

It emerged Lee, who first appeared before a crown court aged just 15, had previously been locked up for a brutal attack.

He was hauled before a judge in County Durham after "kicking and punching" a man, before being sent back to youth court where he was given a nine-month referral order for actual bodily harm (ABH).

Just two years later, he was back in court after "powerfully punching" someone in the mouth.

Then, Newcastle Crown Court heard from prosecutors who said the attack was "more serious".

He was sentenced to 21 months in a young offender’s institute after being convicted of ABH and affray.

Jailing him on Friday for Ryan Thompson’s murder, Justice Richard Jacobs said Lee revelled in his long history of violence.

"You are arrogant and like to be seen as tough and not someone to be messed with," he said.

Earlier in the trial, jurors heard that – in a ‘misunderstanding’ – the victim and owner of the bikes initially threw punches at Lee.

Justice Jacobs accepted mitigation that there was an element of self-defence in his actions.

The minimum sentence of 25 years was therefore lowered after the judge accepted the murder was not pre-meditated.

Lee will serve life with a minimum of 19 years behind bars.

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