A “violent and dangerous” murderer who stabbed to death a man he found in his former girlfriend’s bed has been jailed for life.
Jason Lowther, 39, was told by a judge he would serve a minimum of 18 years behind bars and warned some lifers are never released.
Lowther fatally stabbed Duane Eddy Coleman and then rolled up the body in a carpet and carried it from the house, in Eggleston Drive, Holme Wood, Bradford.
Lowther’s baby daughter was sleeping in her cot in the bedroom as the killing took place.
The body was taken in a wheelie bin to a wood at Pit Hill Park, off Holme Lane, Holme Wood, where it was set on fire.
The judge, Mr Justice Openshaw, said the body was all but destroyed in the fire and Mr Coleman’s family was denied the chance of being able to say a proper goodbye.
After the case, the Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Superintendent Paul Taylor, said Lowther had carried out a horrific attack and a “cold and heartless crime.” He had displayed no remorse.
Lowther had pleaded guilty to murdering 34-year-old Mr Coleman, a drug addict and alcoholic, of Oakroyd Villas, Manningham, Bradford, in the early hours of May 11 this year, but a trial of issue was held to determine the level of intent. He also admitted perverting the course of justice.
Lowther, of Peverell Close, Holme Wood, giving evidence at Leeds Crown Court, admitted breaking into the home of his former girlfriend, Natalie Fears, and stabbing Mr Coleman through the heart after finding him in her bed. He claimed the victim had picked up a knife and “come at him”.
He said he had punched Mr Coleman and his mind had then gone blank but accepted he must have picked up the knife and stabbed him. He was brought to his senses by his daughter crying in her cot and saw Mr Coleman lying dead.
Mr Justice Openshaw rejected Lowther’s account and said it was “incredible” Mr Coleman would have seized the knife.
The judge said the defendant did not take the knife to the scene, but armed himself with it in the house.
He said: “He took it up in anger, and not excessive self-defence.”
The judge said Lowther, who had previously served jail sentences for robbery, had gone to Miss Fears’ house to look for somewhere to sleep, after getting drunk at a wake. He had disposed of the knife in a garden, but contacted police the following day and confessed to the killing and where the knife was.
Mr Justice Openshaw said the murder was committed in the presence of Lowther and Miss Fears’ children. He said the youngest would grow up with the knowledge of what her father had done in the bedroom where she was sleeping, while his eight-year-old daughter had been woken by the noise and come upon the “dreadful scene”.
Lowther’s barrister, Michelle Colborne QC, accepted he was a violent and dangerous man, but said there was a lack of pre-meditation.
Levi Ibbotson, 33, of Wenborough Lane, Holme Wood, admitted perverting the course of justice, by cleaning up the bedroom after the murder, and was jailed for two and a half years.