Man sentenced to prison for manslaughter of Lee Butler – Barton, Oxford
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Following a Thames Valley Police investigation, a man has today been sentenced to a total of ten and a half years’ imprisonment for the manslaughter of 39-year-old Lee Butler in Oxford last October.
Lewis Brown, aged 20, of Barton Village Road, Oxford, was found not guilty of murder, but was convicted of manslaughter and possession of an offensive weapon in a public place by unanimous jury verdict last Thursday (28/4) following a trial at Oxford Crown Court.
Brown was a drug dealer in the Barton area of Oxford and had arranged to meet Mr Butler and a friend of his in the park off Bayswater Road in Barton on the evening of 8 October last year, intent on selling him drugs.
However, following the deal, an argument ensued between Mr Butler and Brown, and during this argument, Brown stabbed Mr Butler once in the chest.
Mr Butler suffered a very serious chest injury and despite the best efforts of medical professionals, he tragically died at the scene of his injuries.
Following the altercation, Brown ran from the park, and embarked on a bus journey around Oxford to try to evade capture, but he was arrested in the early hours of the following morning following an extensive hunt for him.
Brown attempted to evade police by jumping over fences in back gardens, before officers arrested him at just before 1.15am on 9 October.
Brown was charged with Mr Butler’s murder on 10 October and remanded into custody.
Following a trial, the jury found Brown culpable for causing Mr Butler’s death, convicting him of the alternative count of manslaughter.
Senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Mike Roddy, of Thames Valley Police’s Major Crime Unit, said: “The result of this trial will not serve as any comfort or solace to Lee’s family, who have had to endure several months of anguish since his tragic and entirely unjustified and needless death.
“Lee was a vulnerable individual, who had a known drug addiction, but he was battling this addiction, and he did not deserve the level of violence that met him that evening.
“Lee and his friend had questioned the quality of the drugs that Brown had sold to him, and this set about a tragic chain of events which led to him being fatally stabbed.
“Our case was that Brown had a grievance with Lee Butler, who thought Brown had been selling bad quality drugs.
“In a moment of bad temper, Brown stabbed Lee once in the chest, which resulted in his death.
“Needless to say, this had a profound impact of Lee’s family and friends, and my thoughts remain with them all at what has been an extremely traumatic time for them.
“The jury at Oxford Crown Court unanimously found that Brown was culpable for Lee’s death, but did not convict him of murder, instead finding him guilty of the alternative offence of manslaughter and possession of an offensive weapon.
“The sentenced passed down today will, I know, not be of any comfort to Lee’s family, but I would like to take this opportunity to praise them all for their dignity, courage and patience while we investigated the circumstances and brought Brown before the courts.
“Although this conviction is one of manslaughter, Brown will now have to serve a considerable prison sentence as a result of his actions that evening, and will have many years to reflect on his actions.
“I would like to offer my sincere condolences to Lee’s family once again, and I hope that, in time, they will be able to come to terms with their loss and move on with their lives.
“Knives ruin lives, and if you carry a knife, there is always a danger that you will use this.
“My message to anybody who thinks it is acceptable to carry a knife, is it is not, in any circumstances.
“If you carry a knife, and are caught in possession, you will be arrested. If you use this knife, causing harm to others, you can expect to be prosecuted and given a prison sentence.
“I would urge anybody who has any information about anybody who is carrying a knife to please contact Thames Valley Police and report this.
“We are committed to removing the scourge of knife crime from our communities, and you can help us by reporting any concerns, either by contacting 101 or reporting anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”