Dad jailed for life for stabbing man to death in Asda car park

Brian Willington Credit: BPM Media/West Midlands Police

A dad has been jailed for life after ramming a blade through a man's heart when a fight broke out in an Asda car park.

Jurors were told Brian Willington had guzzled a "cocktail" of drink and drugs - including four bottles of strong beer, a bottle of wine and a small bottle of Southern Comfort - before he "lost his temper".

The 33-year-old knifed "peacemaker" 41-year-old grandfather Martin Latham, at least eight times with "absolute ferocity", Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

The incident took place outside the supermarket in Heath Town, Wolverhampton, on September 6, last year. 

Willington has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 21 years. He was found guilty of murder and possessing a bladed article last week after a trial.

Sentencing, Judge Michael Chambers QC said: "Tragically, this is another fatal stabbing. There was no reason, no motive and no indication of why you killed Mr Latham - he was your friend.

Martin Latham Credit: BPM Media

"You pulled out the knife you were carrying in your waistband, saying: '**** this.' You lunged it into the victim's side eight times, saying: 'Have this'."You left the scene knowing full that you had caused serious harm to Mr Latham. I do not accept that you don't have any knowledge of the attack. While it is your right, it does not reflect well on your remorse."You stabbed yourself in the right arm to make it seem like you were, too, stabbed. This is an aggravating factor."

"Alcohol-dependent" Willington denied the charges and claimed he had "no memory" of clutching the murder weapon or using it to strike his victim.But jurors rejected his version of events after deliberating for three hours and 21 minutes. 

During the trial, they heard how Willington and Mr Latham, who knew each other, spent time with others at a flat in Grove Street on the day of the murder.

Willington has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 21 years Credit: BPM Media

A "substantial punch-up" broke out later that evening between Willington and a man outside the Wolverhampton Road Asda store at about 9:15pm. 

Mr Latham intervened before "anticipating trouble" and adopting a boxing stance as he faced Willington.Blows were exchanged, with Willington falling to the ground, but he managed to get back on his feet. 

He walked towards his victim, reached behind the right-side of his hip and pulled out a knife which he used to stab his victim.Police received multiple 999 calls about the ordeal as Willington, of Hawkley Close, Wolverhampton, fled the scene.

He was tracked down by officers and arrested three hours later.

Wolverhampton Crown Court Credit: BPM Media

The jury’s verdict brings to an end a seven-month long investigation by detectives and forensic experts. 

The court heard how Willington, who walks with a limp, had suffered with mental health difficulties for many years and had attempted suicide at least 20 times.He told jurors he would sell his prescription drugs to Mr Latham in return for money or the street drug mamba. 

Mr Latham, from Ettingshall, suffered eight stab wounds to his chest, including three which had a depth of at least 10cm.Paramedics "took drastic action" to try to save his life before rushing him to Wolverhampton's New Cross Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 10:45pm. 

Police searched the home Willington shared with his partner on December 3, discovering a blue-handled knife was missing from a block of kitchen blades.But jurors were told the prosecution could not say for certain if that missing knife was the weapon used in the "vicious and furious attack".The court heard how Willington was frequently seen with his dog in the area, including near Crossways Shopping Centre, close to the Asda store.He "voluntarily inebriated himself with a cocktail of drink and drugs" before the attack which included four bottles of strong beer, a bottle of wine and a small bottle of Southern Comfort.