A ST Helens man who got to the end of his tether with his noisy young neighbour and stabbed her to death has been jailed for 10 years.
A jury had cleared Paul Lyon of murdering 22-year-old Heather Dyer and instead found him guilty of her manslaughter earlier this month.
They also cleared him of attempting to murder 25-year-old William Taylor, who was also stabbed and suffered life-threatening injuries and convicted him of wounding.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that Lyon stabbed Miss Dyer three times with a fish filleting knife after being angered by her repeated noisy anti-social behaviour.
His QC Stuart Lawson-Rogers said that a witness had described her as “a nightmare neighbour”.
Sentencing 45-year-old Lyon, Judge Clement Goldstone, QC, the Recorder of Liverpool, said, “You were annoyed and frustrated not only by what you and others perceived as Heather Dyer’s selfish disregard for the peace and tranquillity of her neighbours but the inability of police and housing authorities to intervene effectively.
“You decided you had had enough and you acted out of reason and character. Instead of going in you viciously attacked Heather Dyer who to you was responsible for the stress and aggravation that you had been suffering.”
The judge added: “The family of Heather Dyer in particular will I know find it difficult to accept the verdict of the jury reflecting the possibility that you had lost your self-control and killed Heather Dyer because of the way in which she and her friends were said to have behaved towards you as a neighbour during a nine month period throughout which you occupied flats in the same house.
“Likewise they will find it difficult to accept that the sentence for manslaughter means recognising your reduced culpability and in the case of William Taylor that you did not intent to cause really serious harm.
“They will not agree with the jury’s verdicts but I hope they must understand that I must reflect them and sentence in accordance with them,” he said.
He said that he did not accept that Lyon had inflicted the wounds accidentally but had acted after the months of provocation and knew what he had done.
The fatal attack occurred about 40 minutes after Lyon told another neighbour he was going to kill Miss Dyer if she did not stop playing music which was keeping him awake.
She had been due to be evicted from her flat above his home in Chapel Street, St Helens, three days later following repeated complaints by Lyon about her noisy conduct.
In the early hours of Saturday, September 23 last year as Heather Dyer and some of her friends, including Mr Taylor, were leaving her home she was stabbed three times to the chest and abdomen and when Mr Taylor intervened he was also stabbed several times.
Mr Lawson-Rogers said, “One should not under-rate how provocative nuisance by near neighbours can be over a period of time.”
Lyon was jailed for 10 years for manslaughter with two years concurrent for the wounding offence.
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