Man given life sentence for murdering 20-year-old Damien Bendelow in Liskeard car park

Damien was stabbed to death in a car park. Credit: Facebook

A 46-year-old man has been sentenced to life in prison after murdering 20-year-old Damien Bendelow in a Cornwall car park earlier this year.

Carl Smythe, from Liskeard, has been standing trial at Truro Crown Court for two weeks and was found guilty by a jury of a single count of murder on Tuesday 11 August.

Damien's grandmother spoke to ITV West Country and said he didn't deserve to lose his life before it had started. Credit: Family picture

Smythe stabbed Damien six times at the Cattle Market car park in Liskeard in the early hours of Sunday 26 January 2020.

Throughout the trial it was heard that Smythe had a fight with Damien in the White Horse pub earlier that night. After meeting for the first time, a physical fight between the pair started when Smythe punched Damien before he went on to assault other people.

Smythe then left the pub and went to go home, but tracked down 20-year-old Damien with the help of his now deceased friend Mark Jackson. He stabbed Damien in the car park, leaving him with wounds to his chest and torso.

Police were called to the scene at around 00.40am. Damien was taken to Derriford Hospital but died later that morning.

Carl Smythe

Following his attack on the 20-year-old, Smythe fled the scene which led to a widespread police hunt. He disposed of his jacket, visited Jackson and friend David May before police found him near Liskeard train station on Sunday 26 January at around 1.30pm.

After being arrested on suspicion of murder, Smythe initially denied murder and claimed he acted in self-defence. He was later charged.

On Tuesday 11 August Smythe refused to attend the latter part of his trial after losing his temper during cross-examination.

On Wednesday he returned for his sentencing hearing, where Damien's father Gary Bendelow and mother Tracey Blackie both described the devastating effect of his actions on their family.

Smythe has been sentenced to life in prison and will serve a minimum of 21 years.

Detective Inspector Steve Hambly from the Major Crime Investigation Team at Devon and Cornwall Police said: “Carl Smythe was prepared to use a weapon in what was a few moments of extreme violence that ended Damien’s life – something he has not shown any remorse for.

"This case provides a very real warning to those prepared to carry and use a knife that, if you do so, you can expect the full weight of the law to be used to keep the wider population safe.”