A dad-of-four was stabbed to death in front of two of his four teenage children by his jealous nephew.
Joshua Morgan, who was celebrating his 21st birthday that day, admitted to murdering builder Paul Morgan, 39, despite the victim treating Mr Morgan like his own child.
Liverpool Crown Court heard today that Joshua, a cannabis-addict from Dingle, harboured resentment and jealousy towards the victim’s children as his own father died when he was just nine years old.
Mr Morgan’s father killed himself and the anniversary of his death had been just the day before the murder.
Jailing the defendant for life Judge David Aubrey, QC, said, ‘You had a love-hate relationship with your uncle.
‘Tragically, you had lost your father when young and thus your uncle became somewhat of a father figure to you.
‘However, you appeared to show some resentment and jealousy towards your cousins – they had a father, you did not. There was something festering inside you.’
Joshua Morgan, who was celebrating his 21st birthday that day, admitted to murdering Paul Morgan (pictured), 39, despite the victim treating Mr Morgan like his own child
The court heard that the defendant had previously threatened to kill his uncle, but the day before the killing they had happily played pool together.
On the day itself, Mr Morgan sent him a Facebook message saying, ‘Happy Birthday, bro love you lad.’
The defendant had been struggling with his mental health. Only after the tragedy was Mr Morgan diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and cannabis dependency disorder.
However, Judge Aubrey said a psychiatrist found that the offence was unrelated to his illness.
‘I am satisfied there is no causal link between your mental illness and that which you did that day which was borne out of anger and animosity towards your uncle, which was long-standing,’ he said.
Judge Aubrey said that Morgan had taken the knife with him from his home and, after following his uncle across the road, stabbed him twice, once in the back, causing massive fatal bleeding.
Paul (above) was stabbed to death in Prince William Street, Dingle, on Saturday, September 19
‘He was in no position whatsoever to defend himself and I am satisfied that you had a complete indifference to the outcome. He was at the time defenceless and hopelessly vulnerable.
‘You killed your uncle in front of some of his children. That moment will live with them for the rest of their lives and it is an aggravating factor the court must take into account.’
Imposing a minimum jail sentence of 17 years he added, ‘The court cannot be satisfied it was your intention to kill your uncle.’
He pointed out that after the killing Morgan claimed he had been acting in self-defence. ‘That was a lie and a lie you persisted in.’
Morgan – who showed no emotion at all during the hearing – pleaded guilty on the day his trial had been due to begin.
Richard Pratt, QC, prosecuting, said that on the afternoon of the tragedy, September 19, 2020, Mr Morgan and his partner Lisa Robinson, who lived opposite his nephew, went over to his home for his birthday party.
Mr Morgan tried to give him a hug, but he reacted by barging him with his shoulder and so he left saying ‘You know what lad, don’t wanna know’.
His eldest son said the defendant grinned at him before he ran out of the door after his dad. He heard his cousin’s mum shout, ‘Josh, no’.
He went out and when his dad was on the inside of his gate, closing it, he saw his cousin pull a knife out of his pocket and ‘hit’ him with it.
‘He then describes how he disarmed the defendant of the knife and saw as his father lifted up his top to reveal a big wound and shortly afterwards, he collapsed on the floor.’
Paul with his partner Lisa and four children Ben, Kaitlyn, Summer and Rhys
Mr Pratt said that during the stabbing Mr Morgan tried to disarm his attack and to protect his son.
The victim’s 15-year-old daughter also saw the stabbing and heard her dad saying to Morgan, ‘What are you doing?’
The victim was taken to Aintree hospital where emergency surgery was undertaken to try to resuscitate him, but he was pronounced dead at 6.16pm.
When arrested at the scene Morgan claimed the victim had produced a knife and he took it off him and stabbed him.
‘And so 30 minutes or so after he has stabbed his uncle, the defendant hatched a plan to try and exculpate himself – by falsely alleging that it was Paul who had the knife and that he had been able to disarm him,’ said Mr Pratt.
A pathologist found that the fatal wound to his chest had penetrated eight centimetres through his sternum, cutting a major blood vessel, and would have required severe force to inflict.
Mr Pratt said that one of the psychiatrists, who examined the defendant, found: ‘Although probably unwell at the time of the offence, there is little to link his mental illness to the offence.
‘This is a case where it appears the defendant was mentally ill at the time of an offence, but the offence is unrelated to the signs or symptoms of his mental illness.’
Police and paramedics at the scene in Prince William Street in Dingle where Mr Morgan was stabbed
Peter Finnegan QC, defending, said that Morgan, who is now 22, has no previous convictions and had written a letter to the judge.
‘He has expressed genuine remorse and recognises the impact of his offending.’
Mr Finnegan said that he had been ‘behaving oddly’ and had had mental health problems for some time and he and his family had tried to get him diagnosed and treated, but it had not happened.
At the time he was suffering from delusions and hallucinations and heard ‘commanding voices which essentially told him that people were out to get him.’
‘This is a classic persecutory delusion,’ he said.
Mr Finnegan said that Morgan said that the voice were speaking to him before, during and after the attack. ‘There can be no doubt he was very unwell when this happened.’
He has now been diagnosed, is being treated, is compliant and wants to get better. ‘He wants to get better and make something of his life.’
Mr Finnegan added, ‘He has taken a life and ruined the lives of others and ruined his own life.’
Source: Daily Mail