Guilty verdict in love rival murder case

A SUFFOLK man who killed his love rival has today been jailed for life for his murder.

Jane Hunt

A SUFFOLK man who killed his love rival has today been jailed for life for his murder.

Keiran Botterill, 26, of Soames Close, Stowmarket had denied murdering 21-year-old Zak Brown but was found guilty by a jury at Ipswich Crown Court after a week-long trial.

Sentencing Botterill to a minimum term of 13 years Judge John Devaux said that Botterill had been “fuelled by drink and jealousy” when he went to his ex-girlfriend Heidi Stevens' flat in Trinity Walk, Stowupland in the early hours of September 10 last year.

During the trial the court heard that Mr Brown, of Woodbridge Road, Ipswich, had started a relationship with Miss Stevens two weeks before his death.

In the early hours of September 10 Mr Botterill had hammered at Miss Stevens' front door until she let him in and had then assaulted her by hitting her in the face.

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Armed with an open lock knife he had then gone into the lounge and inflicted a single stab wound to Mr Brown's heart.

Mr Brown had staggered from the flat but had collapsed and died shortly afterwards.

After the hearing Mr Brown's aunt, Gina Hockley, and his grandmother, also called Gina Hockley, said: “Justice has been done”.

His aunt described Mr Brown as a “lovely lad”.

“He always made me have a smile on my face,” she said.

At an earlier hearing Botterill pleaded guilty to assaulting Miss Stevens, which took place prior to the attack on Mr Brown.

Peter Gair, crown advocate and reviewing lawyer in the case, said today's verdict “upheld” his decision to put Botterill on trial for murder.

Mr Gair also highlighted the danger knives pose.

“Mr Botterill had indicated at an early stage that he accepted that he was guilty of manslaughter but he always denied any intent to kill and claimed he was therefore not guilty of murder. I felt that the evidence pointed at this being a murder and the jury agreed.

“Contrary to what he told the police after his arrest, Mr Botterill deliberately armed himself with a knife before going to the home of Zak Brown in the early hours of September 10, 2007.

“Following a struggle he stabbed Mr Brown in the heart causing a fatal injury.

“This case demonstrates once again that those who carry knives run the risk of getting themselves in a position where they may use them and of course knives are deadly weapons.

“Had Mr Botterill not carried a knife it is entirely possible that he may have avoided causing a death.

“He is now serving a life sentence and so will have plenty of time to reflect on his cowardly actions.

“One would hope that others will take heed.”

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