Man jailed for stabbing stranger to death

A man was jailed for life with a minimum term of 22 years today for stabbing a stranger to death in a fit of anger.

Michael Bowden, 28, went out drinking and carrying a knife as he tried to find his girlfriend while she was out with another man.

After failing to get through to her mobile, he stormed out of a telephone box and stabbed young father Paul Martin, 25, who was waiting for a lift after a night out.

Bowden had drink and anger issues and was taking medication for a bipolar disorder, the Old Bailey heard.

A jury took just half an hour yesterday to convict Bowden of murdering Mr Martin on March 29 last year.

He was stabbed five times as he waited with his partner for a car to take them home on a Friday night.

Bowden stormed out of a telephone box and attacked Mr Martin, a plumber, who had children aged two and one.

Bowden, of Bermondsey, south London, who had been arrested a number of times for drink-fuelled violence, was arrested after the call he made was traced.

He denied murder, claiming his responsibility was diminished by bipolar disorder. This was rejected by the jury's verdict.

Judge Giles Forrester told Bowden: "The consequences of your conduct that night cannot be overstated.

"On the 2nd of March, you told a psychiatrist that you might end up killing someone.

"You were concerned about your capacity for violence, particularly when in drink.

"You knew the dangers, yet you chose to go out armed with a knife. This was a tragedy waiting to happen."

The court was told that Bowden was referred to a community psychiatric nurse to help with his anger issues.

Zoe Johnson, prosecuting, said Mr Martin had spent the evening drinking and dancing with his partner, Jessica Ryan, and another couple.

Shortly after 2am they were waiting for a friend to give them a lift home when Mr Martin had the "misfortune" to come across Bowden.

She said: "The defendant confronted Paul Martin in an unprovoked and senseless attack.

"The defendant was angry when he confronted a man he had never met before and released his rage on his unwitting victim."

Miss Johnson said Bowden had "stormed" out of the phone box and was "an angry and frustrated man".

Bowden had been convicted of violence in public places four times between 1997 and 2006.

Then there had been a number of incidents where allegations of violence had been made against him and which involved him drinking.

Detective Inspector Chris Stanley said outside court: "I am pleased that this thug, Michael Bowden, is going to jail for the brutal and unprovoked murder of Paul Martin.

"Paul leaves behind two young children and the family has been utterly devastated by the senseless way in which Paul died."