Life sentence for killer of Fishponds man, 32

A MAN has been jailed for life for murdering his friend after an argument.

Lee Llewellyn, of Froomshaw Road in Frenchay, fatally stabbed Martin Hefferman, of Fishponds, last November.

Llewellyn, aged 51, had denied one count of murder, claiming 32-year-old Martin had accidentally jumped onto the knife.

But he was found guilty of the charge by a jury at the end of a nine-day trial at Bristol Crown Court.

Today Llewellyn was sentenced to life in jail, with Judge Martin Picton telling him he would serve a minimum of 18 years before he could be considered for parole.

Bristol Crown Court heard the two friends had an argument while they were visiting a house in Honeysuckle Close, Bradley Stoke, at around 3.20am on November 18 last year.

Avon & Somerset police said the pair had been at the house with two women, one of whom lived there, for around two days before the fight.

A police spokesperson said: “A quantity of alcohol and drugs had been consumed during that time.

“Neither of the women saw the fatal stabbing, but told police they had heard an argument between the two men downstairs shortly beforehand. They then found Mr Hefferman bleeding and critically injured on the landing.”

One of the women called police, who arrived around 10 minutes later.

Martin (above) was pronounced dead at the scene by ambulance staff shortly after 4am.

A pathologist found he died of a single stab wound to the chest, reaching his heart.

The police spokesperson said: “Llewellyn told those officers he had ‘stabbed the guy’ and he had sustained rib injuries in an altercation with Mr Hefferman before picking up the knife.”

Video from police body-worn cameras recorded Llewellyn saying he hoped Martin survived, saying that he didn’t want a “murder charge”, before adding: “It’s going to be murder though, isn’t it. Doesn’t look good. Why did I stab him?”

On the way to police custody he told officers: “I didn’t mean to do it but he attacked me.”

However Llewellyn later replied “no comment” to all questions, and claimed in court that the fatal injury was inflicted by accident. 

The prosecution argued the severity of the injury and location of the wound showed Llewellyn intended to kill or cause very serious injury – the intent required to prove a murder charge.

After the verdict Detective Inspector Mark Newbury said: “It’s clear there was a dispute between Lee Llewellyn and Martin Hefferman in the moments before the murder took place.

“Whatever caused that argument cannot justify the conscious decision Llewellyn made to grab a knife, which he used to kill Martin.

“It may have been a decision made in the heat of the moment, but it is inconceivable he would not have recognised bringing a knife into the argument could have tragic consequences.

“Sadly, that proved the case.

“He then made several telling admissions to police after being arrested.

“Martin was a young man whose life was snatched away from him on that fateful day six months ago.

“We are pleased to have secured a conviction for his family. They have shown courage throughout our investigation as they seek to come to terms with losing their son. Our thoughts remain with them.”