Bildeston/Ipswich: Barry Estabrook given life sentence for killing ‘gentle giant’ Brian Knock
23:05 10 January 2014
A man who stabbed a “gentle giant” to death in the garden of his Suffolk home in an apparently motiveless attack has been ordered to serve at least 20 years of a life sentence.
Father-of-two Brian Knock was found slumped against the front wall of the Bildeston home he shared with his mother after being stabbed more than 20 times in a “frenzied” attack by 44-year-old Barry Estabrook, who lived in the same village, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
Shortly after the attack in the early hours on September 1 Estabrook posted messages on Facebook admitting that he had “really hurt someone” and he also called his sister and told her he thought he had killed someone.
Estabrook, of Brooks View, Bildeston, admitted murdering 38-year-old Mr Knock, of Brooksfield, Bildeston on September 1 and was ordered to serve a minimum of 20 years of a mandatory life sentence.
Sentencing him Judge David Goodin said that prior to the killing both men had been drinking separately in the village’s Red Lion pub and Mr Knock had clearly had a great deal to drink and was described by witnesses as being “exuberant and playful” while Estabrook was described as “scowling and aggressive”.
Judge Goodin said Estabrook may have been irritated by Mr Knock’s behaviour in the pub but it was no justification for what happened later on.
He described Mr Knock as a “gentle giant” and said that because of the amount he had to drink he had been in no condition to defend himself from the “murderous onslaught” he met at Estabrook’s hands.
Christopher Morgan, prosecuting, told the court that on August 31 Mr Knock had been visited by his two daughters and before leaving them with his mother Lola to go to the Red Lion, he had told each of them that he loved them. “His mother and daughters were never to see him alive again,” Mr Morgan said.
He said Mr Knock was described by witnesses in the pub as being happy and enjoying himself and there was no suggestion he had been aggressive or argumentative.
Estabrook had gone to the pub with a neighbour and during the evening she had gone outside and had a cigarette with Mr Knock and there had been an occasion when Mr Knock had put his hands on Estabrook’s head and Estabrook had told him to take them off.
At some stage a witness saw the two men talking at the bar but could not hear their conversation and later in the evening the landlord heard Estabrook say he was going to “fill him (Mr Knock) in.”
Estabrook told another witness he was going round to Mr Knock’s home to “have it out with him” and when he was advised to leave it until the next day Estabrook had replied :”No. I’m going to go round tonight.”
Estabrook left the pub at around 2am and was dropped off at his flat by someone who worked at the pub and Mr Knock left the pub at around the same time, walking home with a friend.
Mr Knock was murdered in his front garden by Estabrook between 2am and 4am in a “frenzied” and apparently motiveless attack.
Mr Morgan said Estabrook’s sister had found Mr Knock slumped up against the wall of his home after being contacted by her brother and had been unable to find a pulse. She had knocked at the front door and Mr Knock’s mother had come out and said: “Oh my god. It’s my son.”
Estabrook had driven away from the area and his car was found a short while later crashed into a hedge. He was found hiding in a ditch and as there were concerns he was carrying a knife he was tasered by officers.
Following his arrest police went to his home and found his clothes, mobile phone and a kitchen knife in a washing machine.
Steven Dyble, for Estabrook, said Mr Knock and his client had been drinking.
He said although Estabrook had been heard to say he was going to “do Mr Knock in” he hadn’t said he was going to kill him.
He said Estabrook had a troubled childhood but did not have a history of violent offending.
He said there was very little to explain why Estabrook had attacked Mr Knock and even if had taken exception to Mr Knock putting his hands on his head that was no justification for what he did to him later on. “In many ways it is without motive,” he added.
Mr Dyble said Estabrook had expressed remorse for killing Mr Knock and realised how many people’s lives he had ruined.
In a statement after Mr Knock’s death his family paid tribute to him and described him as a devoted son, a fun brother who enjoyed spending time with his nieces and nephews, and a loyal friend.
“He was a big tough man on the outside but a big softy underneath who was not afraid to tell those close to him how much he loved them, or to cry and show his sadness and to laugh out loud when happy,” the family statement said.
“Brian was a cheeky, fun loving character with a big smile and a big heart. Loved by all that knew him, he will be missed beyond words.
“His life was short but he made such a big impression on everyone that he will be remembered in the memories and hearts of all that ever had the good fortune to meet him.”
After yesterday’s sentencing hearing, Det Insp Kevin Hayward said: “This was a particularly brutal attack where a defenceless man sustained horrendous fatal injuries.”