Birmingham man jailed after gold chain row led to fatal stabbing
An argument over a missing gold chain between friends led to a man being stabbed in the heart in a car in Birmingham.
Jonathan Hamilton, 33, of Hartington Road, Lozells, admitted murdering Leon Francis and was jailed for life. He was ordered to serve a minimum of 13 years before being considered for release.
Mr Francis managed to flee to a club pursued by his attacker where he collapsed on the dance floor. He was rushed to hospital but died despite efforts to save him, Birmingham Crown Court heard.
In passing sentence Judge Melbourne Inman QC said: "The public understandably has great concerns as to the possession and use of knives and this case demonstrates the tragic consequences that can follow from their violent use."
However, he said he accepted what happened was an "explosion of violence" and that he could not be sure that Hamilton originally had the knife.
Timothy Raggatt QC, prosecuting, said the victim, aged 24, from the Aston area who had the street name of Tricks, knew Hamilton quite well. He said on December 26 last year they had been out together and with others to Broad Street and had also gone to Stoke-on-Trent visiting several clubs before travelling back to Birmingham in the early hours of the morning.
He said they parked in the Aston area near Ruskin Hall, a club where there was a function going on.
Mr Raggatt said it was clear that "something happened" in the car and that Mr Francis then ran from the vehicle chased by Hamilton, who was stopped from going into the club by bouncers.
It was obvious, he said, that Hamilton was still in a high temper and that he used a beer barrel to damage the car, a Corsa.
Mr Raggatt said Mr Francis, who was pronounced dead later that morning, had slash marks on his arms and the back of his head and that he had a penetrating wound to the chest which had pierced his heart.
Hamilton fled to Sheffield after the attack where he was arrested at a girlfriend's home.
Rachel Brand QC, defending, said on the early part of the evening Hamilton had seen someone who owed him money and who had given him a gold chain as security.
She said the chain was left in the car he had been travelling in and later "disappeared" which led to an argument.
Miss Brand said the feud continued to bubble along after they left Stoke-on-Trent and got back to Birmingham where Mr Francis then took out a knife and stabbed the defendant in his upper thigh.
Hamilton then grabbed the weapon off Mr Francis and slashed out with it wildly. She said everything happened in the confines of the car in a short space of time and that Hamilton had "lost it".