A 52-year-old man has been sentenced to life in prison for murder after stabbing Matthew Jackson to death with a fork.
Police have today released a picture for the first time showing the ornamental fork used six times to stab 38-year-old Matthew Jackson to death.
David Ablett, of Flat 2A 16 Barnpark Terrace, Teignmouth, denied murder but was convicted at Exeter Crown Court.
Ablett has been sentenced to life in prison for murder , to serve a minimum of 16 years. He was also found guilty on the charge of supply of a class-A drug and sentenced to three years in jail to be served concurrently.
Judge Peter Johnson said only Ablett knew exactly what had happened that night in his flat in Barnpark Terrace but it appeared Mr Jackson may have wanted to get his hands on Ablett’s drugs.
He said: “You used grossly disproportionate force, repeatedly plunging the fork into him. It was a massive overreaction. You were then obliged to fabricate an account of why you stabbed him.”
The court was told that Ablett stabbed Mr Jackson six times to his face and body. Cause of death was four puncture wounds to the left side of his chest. Stabs to his left lung, liver and heart were fatal. He was bludgeoned twice in the heart.
The trial was told Ablett was a drug dealer and Mr Jackson would buy cocaine and heroin from him.
On June 2 Mr Jackson set out from Bishopsteignton, where he lived in a caravan on his parents’ drive, to visit Ablett in his bedsit in Barnpark Terrace.
Police managed to piece together his route using CCTV. The jury were shown photos of his last known movements as he arrived at Ablett’s flat shortly before midnight. He sat and smoked heroin with Ablett before violence erupted between the men.
“I’m not satisfied the killing was premeditated,” said the judge.
“On the evidence in the trial I’m of the view he was after your stash of drugs. I accept Matthew was violent or threatened violence when he was refused credit.
“Only you know what happened in flat 2A that night but you have lied in evidence.”
Ablett repeatedly stabbed Mr Jackson with the two-pronged fork.
Mr Jackson suffered multiple injuries to his face and body. Cause of death was four puncture wounds to the left side of his chest. Stabs to his left lung, liver and heart were fatal. He was bludgeoned twice in the heart.
Following the fatal stabbing, Ablett made attempts to cover up his actions by washing the murder weapon and hiding it in nearby undergrowth.
Ablett was then aided by Neal Hinton, aged 39 also from Teignmouth who assisted with moving the body and leaving it by nearby bins. Property belonging to Mr Jackson was also hidden in undergrowth away from the murder scene.
The body was found by a member of the public. The police investigation team soon located Ablett in his flat where injuries he sustained in the fight were covered up.
Ablett lied to police about his injuries but was arrested on suspicion of murder. Throughout the investigation he refused to speak to police, leaving the investigation team to piece together what had occurred through witnesses, extensive CCTV footage, forensic and phone evidence.
During his trial, Exeter Crown Court heard from Ablett that he was defending himself from Jackson who was attacking him for drugs.
The prosecution argued this was a case of Ablett’s word only, that he was defending his drugs, not himself, and that the force used was not reasonable having stabbed Matthew Jackson six times to the chest causing fatal wounds.
A jury has today found Ablett guilty of murder, and he now starts a considerable sentence in prison.
Hinton plead guilty at a previous and separate hearing to perverting the course of justice; he awaits sentencing at Exeter Crown Court on Monday 3 December.
Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Steve Davies of the Major Crime Investigation Team welcomed the sentence and added: “Ablett’s actions of trying to cover up the murder only went to show that this was not the deeds of someone who had innocently acted in self-defence.
“Throughout this investigation Ablett has tried everything to distance himself as the killer and today a jury has seen through his story of events; to stab someone six times is not reasonable force for self-defence and the jury have agreed with the prosecution on this.
“My team carried out an extensive investigation gaining evidence from witnesses, CCTV, phone data and forensic specialists. This was the only way of finding out what had happened prior to and on the day of the incident. The first time Ablett gave his version of events was when he spoke in court following all the evidence being presented to him by the prosecution team.
“We welcome today’s sentence, and our thoughts are with the family of Matthew Jackson.”