Life for killer of a 'fine' man

THE family of a murdered Norwood man clapped and cheered in court after his killer was jailed for life.

The jury at Leeds Crown Court took just under two hours on Wednesday to find chef Leroy Griffith, from Addingham, Ilkley, guilty of stabbing 21-year-old Mark Webster outside a pub on Easter Monday this year.

Griffith, 36, showed no emotion after he was convicted of deliberately stabbing what the judge called a "perfectly decent and fine young man".

Moments before he was killed, Mr Webster had been trying to calm Griffith down outside The Fleece pub in Addingham.

Mr Griffith had gone to the pub to confront a woman, Rebecca Holmes, who had earlier argued with his wife.

He went armed with a bottle, which he eventually threw at Ms Holmes before trying to leave the pub, but finding his car keys were missing he became enraged and grabbed a knife from his car.

A number of witnesses said Griffith was waving the knife around and threatening anybody who came near him.

Anthony Robertshaw, a barman at the pub, said he saw Mr Webster "calmly" put an arm on Griffith's shoulder, adding: "That seemed to calm Leroy down until he seemed to be jostled from one side and Leroy plunged his hand forward."

He thrust the knife straight into the chest of Mr Webster, killing him almost instantly.

Griffith claimed in court he had found the knife on the floor when he was attacked by a group of people.

But while sentencing him, Judge Charlesworth told Griffith he had bought the knife to use as a weapon, which he did with "devastating effect".

He said he had shown no remorse over the killing and would serve life.

"All Mark Webster was seeking to do was to get you to lay down the knife and keep the peace," he said.

Speaking outside the court after the verdict and flanked by family and friends, Mark's father, Mr Martin Webster, said the family were delighted with the jury's decision.

"A clearly dangerous man has been taken off our streets," he said.

"His life sentence starts today. Our family's sentence started on Easter Monday with the tragic waste of our 21-year-old son's life and this will stay with us all for the rest of our lives."

Detective Inspector Gerry O'Shea, from Bradford North CID, headed the murder investigation and said he welcomed the verdict.

"Mark died bravely while trying to maintain the peace. I hope this verdict will be of some consolation to his family," he said.

"I know it will not bring Mark back but I do hope it will ease their burden."