Man who stabbed friend in neck with broken Sambuca bottle is convicted of murder

·3 min read
Richard McAuley, 23, has been found guilty of murdering his friend (Picture: Police)
Richard McAuley, 23, has been found guilty of murdering his friend (Picture: Police)

A man who stabbed a friend in the neck with a broken Sambuca bottle at a drunken party has been convicted of murder.

Richard McAuley, 23, attacked father-of-five Mark Miles after the victim confronted him about comments made to his wife.

McAuley accepted he had killed the 44-year-old but said he had no memory of the incident in Margate, south-east England, in October last year.

He denied murder, but members of the jury took just one hour to return a guilty verdict at Maidstone Crown Court on Friday.

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General view of Maidstone Crown Court.
He was convicted of murder at Maidstone Crown Court (Picture: PA)

Jurors were told the men had been at a party with friends and family, and in the early hours of the morning McAuley swore at Mr Miles' wife Vicky and said "no one cares about your opinion".

"As a consequence, Mr Miles took exception and confronted McAuley," prosecutor Simon Taylor told the court.

"In response, McAuley took hold of a bottle containing Sambuca and attacked Mr Miles with it, using it as a weapon.

"During the course of the attack the bottle was broken and McAuley stabbed Mr Miles with it several times, including a fatal blow to the neck."

Mrs Miles went to her husband's aid and was also cut by the bottle, which had been smashed over a chair.

In cross-examination, McAuley told the jury his memory of that night was "hit-and-miss".

He said: "I accept I killed my friend, I just can't remember anything. Maybe my brain doesn't want to remember and is blocking it out."

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McAuley also protested there was no reason he would ever want to hurt Mr Miles.

But after his arrest, footage from body-worn police cameras recorded him saying: "I''ll cut him up. I'll slice him. That stupid **** is done."

And when told Mr Miles had died, he replied: "Good, good. Blah, blah, blah. He deserved it."

McAuley, of Cliftonville, Kent, was also convicted of wounding Mrs Miles.

He showed little reaction to the verdicts, although members of the Miles family gasped when they were read out.

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Senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Ross Gurden said: ‘That night had been one of socialising and friendship for the victim, until McAuley arrived and things took a truly tragic turn.

‘In a violent rage McAuley attacked the unarmed man - and then rather than stay and call for an ambulance - he fled the scene, leaving his victim to die.

‘My thoughts are with Mr Miles’ family who have had to face the devastating consequences of losing a loved one, and I thank them for their strength and support throughout the investigation and subsequent trial.’

Sentencing is expected to take place at Maidstone Crown Court on Wednesday.

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