Sentenced - Luke Ayres | Image West Mids Police
Sentenced – Luke Ayres | Image West Mids Police

A 21 year old man was sentenced to life imprisonment this week for the fatal stabbing of his girlfriend’s step-father last year following a long running feud.

Luke Ayres, 21 from Sir Hilton’s Road, West Heath, stabbed 41-year-old Marcus Wye eight times – including a fatal blow that pierced his heart – when the pair clashed in the stairwell of a block of flats in Druids Heath.

The court heard that Ayres routinely carried a knife “for protection” and had sparred with Mr Wye on numerous occasions in the past.

Birmingham Crown Court heard that following one fight six weeks earlier Ayres told a friend he would stab the father-of-three “if he grabs me again”.

And he carried out the threat when they met outside the victim’s flat in Drews House, Netheravon Close, on the evening of April 5 last year.

Earlier that day Ayres had rowed with his teenage partner after she chose to go on a night out with friends; he went to the flat at 10pm to wait for her return when he stumbled across Mr Wye.

He admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and at Birmingham Crown Court on Tuesday (Oct 22) and was sentenced to life imprisonment, with an indeterminate sentence.

Sergeant Mike Griffiths from West Midlands Police’s Major Investigation Review Team, said: “There was considerable animosity between the defendant and his victim which came to a head on the night of April 5.

“Ayres habitually carried the knife claiming it was ‘for protection’. However, anyone who carries a knife runs the risk of seriously injuring themselves or others…and this case demonstrates the catastrophic consequences of carrying a knife.

“He admitted unlawfully killing Mr Wye; psychiatric experts diagnosed him as suffering from mental illness at the time of the killing so his plea to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility has been accepted by the prosecution.”

Manslaughter victim Marcus Wye | Image West Mids Police
Manslaughter victim Marcus Wye | Image West Mids Police

Police found Mr Wye slumped in the communal area on the eight floor of the 12-storey block and, despite officers and paramedics providing emergency first aid, the 41-year-old was declared dead just after 10.30pm.

Armed police stopped Ayres in Redhill Road, West Heath, shortly after where he was found to have traces of blood on his jeans. Police later recovered the knife – a hunting knife with a four-inch blade – from Leydon Croft in Walkers Heath.

In interview Ayres claimed he was attacked by Mr Wye, being punched several times, and stabbed him in self-defence; he admitted intending to cut the victim but not kill him and couldn’t explain why the wounds were so deep.

Ayres ran from the flat, threw the knife away and only on hearing police sirens did he realise his victim must have been seriously injured.

Sgt Griffiths, added: “Knife crime in the West Midlands is falling with 1,445 fewer offences in 2011/2012 compared to the same period in 2008/2009. However, just one victim is one too many and West Midlands Police remains committed to driving knife crime down even further.

“Anyone found to be carrying a knife in a public place could face a prison sentence of at least four years.”

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