Man jailed for life killing Asperger's sufferering neighbour

Charlotte McCathie,Press Association
Monday 17 May 2010 15:34

A man was jailed for life today for stabbing to death his vulnerable neighbour, who suffered from Asperger's syndrome, after making fun of him.

John Lesbirel, 42, admitted murdering Kevin Fielding, 41, who also suffered from epilepsy and learning difficulties, in November last year.

A care worker discovered his body at the foot of the stairs in his house on Cameron Street, Bury.

The "popular" and "friendly" Mr Fielding had 24 stab wounds - several of which pierced his heart, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Lesbirel had denied the attack, even when his DNA was found all over the crime scene, telling police that he had seen another neighbour commit the murder.

But he dramatically changed his plea to guilty at the last opportunity, just before the trial was due to start.

Lesbirel, who suffers from a mental disorder, knocked on his neighbour's door looking for an argument, the court heard.

He was angry that Mr Fielding had complained to his care workers about another neighbour making too much noise.

After bludgeoning his victim to death, he rifled through his possessions to see if there was anything worth stealing, the court heard.

A care worker discovered Mr Fielding lying on his back near the door of his home on November 30. It is thought he had lain dead for four days.

Lesbirel's DNA was found on a kitchen knife, door handles and an empty food carton at the crime scene, while the victim's DNA was discovered at Lesbirel's nearby flat.

Another neighbour told police that Lesbirel regularly called Mr Fielding a "retard", while the victim was in earshot.

Sentencing Lesbirel to life with a minimum term of 20 years, Mr Justice Ryder said the victim should have been helped, "not belittled or bullied."

He said: "You were antagonising and insulting to him on account of his disability and the complaints he had made about a neighbour.

"It was about those complaints that you saw fit to go and remonstrate with Mr Fielding.

"You took a kitchen knife in a frenzied, hurried, albeit unplanned attack.

"In my judgement he was not able to respond to get away from your assault.

"The death occurred in the deceased's home which ought to be a haven of safety."

The victim's family sobbed in court as the sentence was passed.

They released a statement saying they will "never get over losing Kevin."

"Words cannot express how devastated we have been by this. Kevin was such a lovely man - everyone who met him could see how kind he was.

"He loved to go on holiday and was due to go away this month.

"We will never get over losing Kevin in these circumstances, but hopefully we will learn to cope. The whole family has come together to find the strength we need to get through this."

Detective Chief Inspector Pete Marsh, of Greater Manchester Police, said: "Kevin was a happy, friendly and popular person, who enjoyed life and in no way deserved what happened to him.

"In contrast, Lesbirel is nothing more than a nefarious individual, who attacked Kevin and continued to attack him while he lay dying on the floor.

"Lesbirel then proceeded to search the flat to find anything he could steal before leaving.

"Until today, he has denied what he did but now he has a long time in prison to face up to his contemptible actions."

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