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Birkenhead loner repeatedly stabbed neighbour in attempt to kill him
1:56pm Wednesday 30th October 2013 in News
A 57-year-old loner who woke up knowing he was going "to do something dark and sinister" tried to kill a neighbour by stabbing him four times.
James Turner deliberately chose a large kitchen knife and hid it in a plastic bag before approaching Michael Roberts and stabbing him in the chest and abdomen.
As the frightened victim fled from the block of flats in Market Street, Birkenhead, where they both lived, Turner inflicted a fourth blow by stabbing him in the back.
Pouring with blood 51-year-old Mr Roberts ran over the road to a nearby chemist where he was given first-aid until paramedics arrived.
Just 20 minutes after the attack Turner walked into his local police station and confessed, saying that he had intended to kill him.
Turner, who has no previous convictions, admitted attempted murder.
Jailing him for 13 years four months, Judge Clement Goldstone, QC, the Recorder of Liverpool, said: "Although you confessed, the element of remorse is sadly lacking."
He said that the closest Turner had come to a motive was because he had been disturbed by visitors at the victim's flat and that day he was depressed because of his heavy alcohol consumption and problems with his benefits.
But he pointed out he had never complained about the visitor problem and "it could not have been of the magnitude which could in any way begin to justify the way in which you behaved."
The judge continued: "No sooner had you launched this wicked and vicious attack than you went to the police station admitting what you had done."
He said that despite Turner's "concerted efforts to kill him" the victim's life had not been in danger and he has recovered though may be scarred for life.
Testimonials handed over to Liverpool Crown Court described Turner, who had been working as a pub chef before becoming jobless, as "a patient man who would do a favour for anyone" and the judge said that he accepted he had acted out of character.
"You were sorry he had not died although you later stated to the probation officer that you were relieved that he was alive. The sentence must be of considerable length to punish you for what you did," said Judge Goldstone.
Anya Horwood, prosecuting, told the court that on July 4 this year, Turner called at Mr Roberts' flat and asked if he could provide him with some money.
Mr Roberts, who did not know him very well, said he would make inquiries.
On Monday morning, July 8, Mr Roberts walked to the chemist shop for his daily methadone prescription and on his return found Turner outside his flat and he apologised for not being able to help him financially.
Turner said he had "something for you" and pulled out a bag containing the knife and stabbed him three times. "While stabbing him he said four times, 'I'm going to kill you'."
After a struggle the victim managed to flee to the communal front door but Turner caught up and stabbed him in the lower back.
Medics were particularly concerned about that wound and he underwent surgery to examine the damage, said Miss Horwood.
Turner went to the police station and said he had killed someone and in later questioning said, "I wanted to kill him."
He claimed that visitors for Mr Roberts would ring his buzzer by mistake and on one occasion a visitor threw a stone breaking his window. He said he had thought about killing him on earlier occasions.
Neil Gunn, defending, said Turner, who is socially isolated, said it had "essentially been a cry for help".
He is divorced with two grown up children but does not see them because of his drink problem.
He had been provoked into action by long term stress and that day "he lost control."