Man jailed for murdering student

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The Independent Online

A man was jailed for life after being found guilty today of murdering a college student on the same day he started his course.

Tommy Balsom, 25, suffered stab wounds to his chest and neck after being knifed by unemployed Ian Deadman in the communal hallway outside his flat in Canterbury Road, Margate, Kent.

Deadman, 46, murdered father-of-two Mr Balsom after intervening in a fight he was involved in on the evening of September 8 last year, a three-week trial at Maidstone Crown Court heard.

Jurors took five hours and 39 minutes to find Deadman guilty of murder. Judge Andrew Patience told him it would be 15 years before he would be eligible for parole.

The judge described the death as "yet another wanton and senseless killing, brought about by a knife and someone in drink".

He added the effect on Mr Balsom's family had been "devastating and catastrophic".

The jury heard that Mr Balsom - who had just enrolled on a plastering course at South Kent College in Ashford - visited his friend Jordan Best's flat in Canterbury Road.

Prosecutor Oliver Saxby said that Mr Best and Deadman, who knew each other from living close by, had obvious "tensions" between them.

In his opening speech, Mr Saxby told the jury: "At times Jordan Best and the defendant got on with each other but at times they did not, and when they did not things got out of hand and on occasion, seriously so."

He added: "Both drank to excess and both took drugs, there really isn't any doubt about that. Each was capable of threatening violence and each was ready for violence."

On the evening of the killing, Mr Balsom visited Mr Best's flat and they went to Deadman's home where another man called James Carter was.

Mr Balsom later went back up to Mr Best's flat but a short time later Deadman appeared in an angry state.

Deadman "went to have it out" with Mr Best before he was placated and returned to his flat. A row ensued between Mr Carter and Mr Best at the foot of the flight of stairs.

During a melee, Mr Carter and Mr Balsom came to blows and it was in the midst of the altercation that Deadman appeared and fatally stabbed Mr Balsom.

Mr Balsom collapsed and after Deadman dialled 999, paramedics pronounced him dead later that night, principally from the stab wound to his neck.

Judge Patience said he had been deeply moved by an impact statement from Mr Balsom's father in which he expressed he was "shattered" by his son's death.