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  1. ITV Report

Man sentenced to life behind bars after being convicted of murder

Jason Downey Credit: Northumbria Police

A 45-year-old man is beginning a life sentence, serving 25 years minimum, after being found guilty of the murder of 59-year-old Steven Coulter.

Jason Downey, 45, of Heaton Hall Road was sentenced on Thursday, November 9 following a trial at Newcastle Crown Court.

Steven Coulter's body was found at a property in Heaton. Credit: Northumbria Police

The body of Mr Coulter, a vulnerable adult living in supported accommodation, was discovered by a friend in his home earlier this year, on Thursday, July 13.

He was found with a stab wound to his chest, where he had lain dead since Sunday, July 9.

A bottle found at the scene had Downey's fingerprint and the victim's blood on it. Detective Inspector David English said:

We welcome the decision by the jury today. This has been a difficult case for all the family and our thoughts remain with them. I hope Steven's family can seek some solace in today's verdict and begin to rebuild their lives.

I want to praise Steven's family for being so strong and supportive throughout the investigation and I also want to thank the local community in Heaton for the help that they gave officers while carrying out enquiries.

We still don't know what motivated the brutal attack on Steven, he was left lying on his bed where he died of his wound.

This conviction means a dangerous and violent man has been apprehended and taken off our streets. Today he will begin to face up to the consequences of his actions when he starts his prison sentence."

– DI David English

Coulter Family statement:

Steven was a very vulnerable man and he was supposed to be protected living in supported accommodation but he wasn’t.

He was a lovely man who wouldn’t hurt anyone and we are all just so devastated by his death.

We want to thank Judith, our family Liaison Officer, DI Dave English and all of the investigation team at Northumbria Police for all their support throughout this ordeal.

We also want to thank the jury for listening to all the evidence and for putting this monster behind bars for this vicious attack on Steven.

Now we just want to be left alone to grieve after this long and daunting case."

– Coulter Family statement: