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Murderer David Squelch of Paddock Wood fails to clear name after stabbing James Wallington

By Ed McConnell

A dustman who murdered his colleague in a frenzied knife attack after they shared a lift to work has failed in his bid to clear his name.

David Squelch, of Paddock Wood, stabbed friend James Wallington 14 times in 15 seconds moments after they’d arrived at Cory Environmental Recycling Centre in Tunbridge Wells.

Squelch, 50 and of Maidstone Road, denied murder but admitted manslaughter on the basis he was not in his right mind when he launched the savage attack in March 2015.

David Squelch. Picture: Kent Police
David Squelch. Picture: Kent Police

He was jailed for life following his conviction at Canterbury Crown Court last March.

Last month he appealed to top judges against his conviction but saw his case thrown out at the Court of Appeal in London.

But his lawyers fought on, claiming his appeal involved issues of such importance only the country’s most senior judges should decide.

They argued Judge Adele Williams had not clearly instructed jurors regarding Squelch’s mental health.

Lord Justice Davis returned to the court on Friday and in a 30-second hearing rejected the application.

David Squelch at the recycling plant.
David Squelch at the recycling plant.

He said: “We decline to certify a point of general public importance,” adding the issues of mental health “were properly and clearly identified and the evidence was appropriately marshalled by reference to those issues.”

The court had previously heard how Mr Wallington, of Tunbridge Wells, was walking towards the entrance of the North Farm estate site to collect the keys for the dustcart when he bent down to fasten his shoes.

Squelch then ran up behind him and launched the brutal attack before going to the office and telling the foreman: “She’s dead, now he’s dead” - referring to his mother who had died the previous year.

James Wallington
James Wallington

As colleagues battled to save the 44-year-old father-of-four’s life, Squelch sat in the office.

The pair had worked together for years, with Squelch driving a dustcart while Mr Wallington loaded it, and appeared to get on.

But Squelch started taking the murder weapon, a serrated hunting knife, to work after suffering a blackout in 2012 - for which he said he held Mr Wallington responsible.

Squelch will now serve a minimum of 22 years before he is eligible for release on licence.

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