A man has been jailed for life after murdering a father of five in a fight over a stolen bottle of vodka.
In sentencing Matthew Sheridan to a minimum of 25 years, the judge at Exeter Crown Court said he was a bragging liar who has showed 'not one shred of remorse'.
The court heard how the killing of 40-year-old security man Louis Bednall had devastated his family.
Sheridan, a farm worker from South Petherton in Somerset, who liked to be known as Manic, was high on drink and drugs when he stabbed Mr Bednall 14 times in the head and upper body, including the fatal blow to his jugular vein.
He recorded a series of bragging Snapchat videos in the 35 minutes between the stabbing and his arrest and inadvertently recorded himself confessing to the crime.
Sheridan said: “We almost got nicked up by the feds big time. I put it in and twisted it. I think I’ve just been done for murder. I just murdered someone".
Mr Bednall, who was from Torbay, was a father of five children and a grandfather who was described as ‘a family lion’ in tributes issued after he was stabbed to death in a bedsit in Yeovil in December 2020.
His younger sister Cassie said the whole family is shell-shocked and his five children, aged between 2 and 21, cry themselves to sleep every night.
She told how she and Mr Bednall’s oldest daughter Natasha reached his bedside shortly before he died and will never forget his final moments. She also said the family torture themselves trying to think how they could have prevented the killing.
She said: "We have to remind ourselves constantly that the person responsible was the person who took the knife and brutally attacked Louis and violently stabbed him 14 times.
“We torture ourselves over the Snapchat video in which Sheridan is covered in Louis’s blood and is proud of what he has done in leaving five children without a father.
“The innocence of his children has been taken away. Their father has been taken away and stolen from them. We are all missing our beautiful Louis who was so loyal and brave and true.
“We were shell-shocked when we heard the 999 call. I cannot touch on the loss and pain which has been caused to the entire family. Sheridan took away the opportunity for us to ever be together as a complete family.
“Louis will always be remembered as a gentle warrior who would do anything for anyone.”
Mr Bednall’s fiancée Nadine said the killing has traumatised all his children. She said: "I have gone through so many emotions from the day Louis was taken from us. Sheridan took a beautiful father and wonderful partner.”
Farm worker Sheridan, aged 30, of South Petherton, Somerset, denied murder but was found guilty in just 90 minutes by a jury at Exeter Crown Court on Thursday 5 August.
On the night of the murder, 11-12 December 2020, Louis had travelled from his home in Devon with a friend to stay with other friends in Yeovil. On the way, they stopped off in Newton Abbot to buy alcohol, including a £17 bottle of vodka.
After arriving at his friend’s flat, they went to a local shop to buy food. While they were out, Sheridan, who was staying with a friend in the same apartment block, went into their flat via the roof and stole the bottle of vodka.
After returning from the store, there was a brief argument between Louis Bednall and Matthew Sheridan about the stolen alcohol. A short time later, Sheridan - armed with a knife - went down to the flat Louis was staying in and, once inside, stabbed him repeatedly in the head, neck and shoulders.
In sentencing, Judge Peter Johnson told Sheridan, “While the paramedics were desperately trying to save Mr Bednall, you were revelling in what you had done, making a video for Snapchat in which you described the fatal blow.
“Far from showing regret or remorse, you were bragging about your actions and lying about the cause of the injury you sustained during the attack.
“You maintained your lies in seven police interviews, defence case statements and at this trial despite overwhelming evidence from three witnesses and CCTV."
"You were prepared to say anything to avoid conviction and tried to blame [your friend] Mr Michael for the fact that you had murdered a perfectly innocent man as a direct result of stealing his bottle of vodka.
“Your cynical claim to have tried to save him was particularly distressing for his family. Your actions deprived them of a much-admired father, grandfather, fiancé, brother, and uncle.
“The emotional devastation will be felt forever by those who loved him. It is clear your callous behaviour immediately after the attack has increased their suffering... You have not shown one shred of remorse.”