Facebook message teenager found guilty of murder

Harriet Shawcross,Press Association
Wednesday 28 January 2009 17:57 GMT

A teenager who posted a message on Facebook saying he felt "like killin some1" hours before stabbing a man to death in a crowded bar was convicted of murder today.

Leon Craig Ramsden, 19, stabbed Paul Gilligan, 31, while he was drinking in Pepper Alley bar in Bolton six months ago.

Mr Gilligan, of Hulton, Salford, suffered stab wounds to his shoulder and chest and died from his injuries an hour after the attack on July 12, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Ramsden, of Turnstone Road, Bolton, posted a message on his Facebook wall earlier that evening which read: "I'm twisted at home. My head's up my a***. I feel like killin some1 need to stay off the hard stuff ha f*** it it's Saturday ha."

The jury of eight women and four men took just over six hours to find Ramsden guilty of murder following a two week trial.

Ramsden remained impassive as the verdict was read out, while Mr Gilligan's family shouted "yes", punched the air and sobbed as Ramsden was sent down to the cells.

The court heard Ramsden went on a three-day alcohol and cocaine-fuelled binge before the attack and had not slept for 36 hours prior to stabbing Mr Gilligan.

Prosecutor Guy Gozem QC told the jury several customers witnessed the "unexpected" and "brutal" attack but did not realise Ramsden had stabbed Mr Gilligan as the knife was concealed in his fist.

The two men were seen "play fighting" minutes before the incident.

Ramsden then left the bar, only to return seconds later and stab Mr Gilligan before running off.

He was arrested later that evening when a nightclub doorman found a knife sheath on him and alerted the police.

The Facebook entry was deleted, but was recovered in the course of the investigation from a laptop used by a witness to access the site after hearing about the stabbing.

Ramsden will be sentenced for murder tomorrow.

John Lord, Head of Greater Manchester Crown Prosecution Service Complex Casework Unit, said in a statement: "This conviction is to be welcomed.

"Knife crime often results in a tragic waste of life and there is no better example than this case of the misery and heartbreak the use of knives can cause.

"Prosecuting weapons-based crime often demands great courage of witnesses.

"Anything we can do to encourage their coming forward increases our chance of obtaining convictions.

"Naturally, our thoughts and sympathies remain with Mr Gilligan's family and friends."

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