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Patrick Murphy not guilty of murdering father in Tonbridge

A son who killed his father after a trivial argument about charging his mobile phone has been cleared of murder and convicted of manslaughter.

A jury of seven men and five women also convicted Patrick Murphy of wounding his brother Mark, 34, with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Murphy knifed his father Joe and then plunged a knife into his brother as he tried to intervene at the family home in Hectorage Road, Tonbridge.

Patrick Murphy was charged with murder, but was convicted of manslaughter following his trial
Patrick Murphy was charged with murder, but was convicted of manslaughter following his trial

He also allegedly threatened his mother Sandra after stabbing his father: “Step back, or else you’re going to get it. I am going to finish him off.”

The 30-year-old, who claimed he had been bullied for years by his father, denied murder and the wounding charge.

The jury previously heard of the family's living arrangements. Murphy and his older brother shared a room and slept in single beds, arranged in an L-shape.

He told the court there was little space, and the majority of items belonged to Mark.

He also said each family member had a designated seat in the living room, besides him. 

"I would sit on the stairs or on a container box or I would go upstairs and mind my own business," Murphy added.

Joe Murphy was stabbed to death
Joe Murphy was stabbed to death

Murphy, who attended Paddock Wood Primary School and The Hayesbrook School in Tonbridge, said his father continually ridiculed him, called him names and bullied him, which led him to become a "ticking time-bomb". 

Maidstone Crown Court heard Murphy had bought the knife that inflicted the wounds at Sainsbury’s in the town shortly before the stabbings.

He had also drunk three cans of strong Special Brew lager he bought from an off licence.

Mark Murphy was taken to King’s College Hospital in London and treated for wounds to his chest, right arm and hand.

A woman living next door agreed with a suggestion by Murphy’s QC James Turner that they were “neighbours from hell”.

Hectorage Road remained partially closed while investigations continued. Picture: Martin Apps
Hectorage Road remained partially closed while investigations continued. Picture: Martin Apps

Prosecutor Philip Bennetts QC said after the argument about charging his phone Murphy stormed out and went to Cash Converters and sold his phone for £20.

He was shown on CCTV footage at the High Street shop just after 5pm. He then went to the Wine Library off licence and bought four cans of Special Brew.

While doing so, another customer asked him: “Is life that bad having to have such a strong beer?”

He replied: “You don’t know the half of it. I need to drown my sorrows.”

Murphy went to B&Q in Cannon Lane but left after looking at knives there. He went on to Sainsburys in Angel Lane and bought a pack of three knives.

As he left the store, he pulled the largest knife out of the packaging and returned home at 7.12pm. The attack then happened.

Forensic officers descended on the Murphy's property in Hectorage Road after the incident. Picture: Martin Apps
Forensic officers descended on the Murphy's property in Hectorage Road after the incident. Picture: Martin Apps

Murphy, who has learning difficulties, claimed in evidence he intended to kill himself in front of his family. 

He said he lost control in “a moment of sheer madness” and stabbed his father.

The jury considered its verdict for a day and a half.

After the result, Judge Philip Statman said it was not a case for a mental health order and Murphy would be given a determinate prison sentence.

Adjourning sentence until Wednesday, March 2, the judge told jurors: “It has been a highly unusual and extremely difficult case.”

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