A drug addict who is originally from Whitby has been jailed for life for the murder of a 41-year-old man at a flat in Scarborough while three others have been sentenced for his manslaughter.
Kevin John Pickering (30) was ordered to serve a minimum of 23 years in prison on Thursday after he was found guilty by a jury at Leeds Crown Court the day before of the murder of Jonathan Binns on August 7 last year.
He had admitted stabbing Mr Binns, a production operative, in the thigh while trying to rob him of some drugs at a flat in Eastborough but he severed the femoral artery causing his victim to bleed to death.
Sentencing Pickering, who admitted robbery, Mr Justice Dingemans said it was accepted he had not intended to kill Mr Binns but that was what happened when knives were used.
He said when one of Pickering’s accomplices David White started punching Mr Binns to try and get him to hand over his drugs it was Pickering who escalated the violence by picking up a kitchen knife.
He had cut Mr Binns in the face with it and when he still would not let go of his coat containing the drugs Pickering jabbed him in the leg. The group then fled with his coat later sharing the drugs from it.
Pickering, who had previous convictions for drug offences and a wounding, was sentenced separately from the other three defendants having not been in court for the last few days of the trial following issues between him and others. The court heard he had been attacked in prison suffering a broken nose, fractured jaw and black eyes.
The other three White, Nicholas Polihronos (both from Scarborough) and Jim Cousin from Manchester were sentenced together.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Mr Binns’ sister, Julie Anderson, said: “On hearing the evidence in court of how Johnny died, we consider this was a cowardly, unprovoked attack, carried out in a way that was cruel, wicked and so totally unnecessary.
“Johnny was a peaceful, non-violent person who showed no violence towards his attackers, he was simply brave enough to resist the attempts to steal what was rightfully his.
“We will never come to terms with what has happened. Johnny came from a large and loving family and we will carry the burden of Johnny’s loss forever. The last time we saw Johnny was at a family wedding and now we will never get to experience any of those happy times ever again with him. Johnny was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”