A drug dealer has been found guilty of murdering an addict who he stabbed with an ornamental carving fork during an argument about money.
David Ablett has been told he will receive a life sentence when he returns to court tomorrow (tues) after a jury took less than four hours to convict him.
He attacked and killed drug buyer Matthew Jackson, who had gone to Ablett’s squalid bedsit in Teignmouth to purchase £30 worth of heroin.
He then called up a friend to help him drag the dying man across the street and dump him next to wheelie bins. A post mortem examination later showed Mr Jackson had actually been alive at the time.
Ablett tried to distance himself from the killing by hiding the murder weapon and the victim’s wallet and phone but he left a tell-tale trail of blood that led detectives straight back to his door.
He then claimed he used the two pronged fork in self defence because Mr Jackson had attacked him when he had refused to supply more drugs on credit, but the jury rejected his story.
The attack left 38-year-old Mr Jackson with 56 different injuries, some to his arms as he tried to protect himself and others to his body as he was being dragged across the street.
Watch below for details of what happens during a trial
The six fatal blows with the fork were all driven hard into his chest and left distinct double wounds where the two prongs entered his body, some to a depth of eight centimetres.
He died from internal bleeding as a result of injuries to his heart, lungs and liver what led to 1.9 litres of blood draining into the chest cavity.
Ablett was well known as a drug user and dealer in Teignmouth and Dawlish, where he had previous convictions for thefts and possessing knives and was nicknamed Scabby Abby.
Former gamekeeper Ablett, aged 52, of Barnpark Terrace, Teignmouth, denied murder but was found guilty by the jury at Exeter Crown Court. He admitted being concerned in the supply of heroin and cocaine.
Neal Hinton, aged 39, of Ness View Road, Teignmouth, who helped him move the body, has pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.
Both will be sentenced tomorrow by Judge Peter Johnson, who must impose a life sentence on Ablett but will have to set a minimum term which he must serve before being released.
During the trial Ablett told the jury he acted in self defence after Mr Jackson attacked him without warning in revenge for refusing to supply heroin ‘on tick’.
He said Mr Jackson had picked up the fork first and he had grabbed it off him and then fallen on the victim repeatedly while holding it to his chest.
The jury rejected his account after hearing how he kept the weapon in his flat for self protection and had been filmed by a visitor using it like a throwing knife shortly before the killing.
In the clip he could be seen aiming it a dummy’s head until it stuck into the face prong-first.
Mr Paul Dunkels, QC, defending, said Ablett had only sold drugs to feed his own habit and there had been an element of excessive self defence in the killing.