Man who stabbed friend to death in 'drink-fuelled rage' given life sentence

Ross Miller, 23, fatally attacked Brandon Lee in May following a disagreement in a South Shields flat Credit: Northumbria Police

A man who stabbed his friend to death in an alcohol-fuelled rage has been given a life sentence.

Ross Miller left 24-year-old Brandon Lee with more than 100 injuries after carrying out the attack inside his flat on Victoria Road, South Shields.

Brandon Lee Credit: Family photograph

Police were called to the address shortly before 4am on May 12 after a neighbour saw Miller covered in blood and holding a knife. Minutes later, Miller himself rang 999 and admitted he had just “killed a man”.

Inside the address, officers found Brandon with multiple stab wounds to his upper body, neck and head. Police say a "motionless Miller sat in an armchair with a blood-soaked machete nearby".

Police were called to the address shortly before 4am on May 12 after a neighbour saw Miller covered in blood and holding a knife. Credit: Northumbria Police

Miller, 23, admitted killing Brandon but denied murder, claiming his actions were caused by diminished responsibility as a result of him suffering from alcohol dependency syndrome.

Ross Miller Credit: Northumbria Police

On October 20, Miller was found guilty of murder following a three-week trial at Newcastle Crown Court. He was sentenced to life behind bars with a minimum term of 19 years.

I am absolutely heartbroken. He is going to be a massive miss to the whole family.

Brandon's mother, Nicola

Detective Sergeant Ewan Campbell, of Northumbria Police’s Homicide & Major Enquiries Team, said: “This was a brutal killing which has sadly resulted in Brandon’s death. Our thoughts go out to his family at this awful time.

“These were two friends who were seen in each other’s company in the hours prior to the incident – but a disagreement inside Miller’s flat has then spiralled and the most horrific act of violence ensued.

“Brandon was found with multiple stab wounds and up to 100 sharp injuries, while Miller had also suffered severed tendons and ligaments in both hands.

“Inside the flat, officers also found a number of knives – including the machete which was used by Miller to inflict the fatal and exhaustive blows that ended Brandon’s life.

“I would like to thank everyone involved in this case, from the witnesses who gave evidence to the detectives who spent hundreds of hours poring over CCTV footage, and today I hope this conviction can bring some comfort to Brandon’s family.

“We are committed to bringing violent offenders to justice – and Miller is clearly a dangerous individual who inflicted horrific injuries to Brandon during a prolonged and vicious attack. He now begins a life sentence behind bars."

The court heard Brandon was drinking and taking drugs with Ross Miller – along with his brother Garry Miller – in the hours before the attack.

CCTV footage showed Brandon and Ross Miller driving to a garage shortly after 10.15pm on May 11 for alcohol and cigarettes, before returning to the flat.

In the early hours of the following morning, a row broke out between Brandon and Ross Miller, which resulted in the fatal attack.

Ross Miller, of Victoria Road, South Shields, was found guilty of Brandon’s murder.He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 19 years.

Garry Miller, of Beach Road, South Shields, was found not guilty of murder and cleared of all charges.