By Lottie Dean @lot_995
A man who killed his girlfriend’s former partner will serve at least 12 years in jail, Mr Justice Males ruled at Sheffield Crown Court this morning.
Steven Ray, 36, was found guilty by a majority verdict yesterday of the murder of Rory Hemmings after 12 hours of deliberation.
In his summary the judge described a vicious fight that broke out after Mr Hemmings barged into the home he previously shared with Kirsty Allen where Ray had stayed that night.
The court heard Mr Hemmings had sent Miss Allen threatening texts the night before the event which occurred on the 15th November 2015.
Ray awoke to hear shouting downstairs where Miss Allen and the two children she shares with Mr Hemmings were begging him to leave.
Ray, of Thornbrough Road, Heeley went downstairs to ask Mr Hemmings to leave however he refused and the dispute led to a fight between the two men.
The court heard that Ray threw the first punch but Mr Hemmings overpowered him and launched him at the stairs. This gave Miss Allen and her children chance to escape. Ray told the court that he was afraid Mr Hemmings would harm Miss Allen as he had previously done so during their 11 year relationship.
Mr Hemmings followed Miss Allen and the two children into the living room and then into the kitchen as the fight progressed. One of the children shouted “daddy stop, daddy just go” as they cowered by the back door, Mr Justice Males said.
Ray pulled Mr Hemmings round to face him by his coat while Mr Hemmings seized him by the throat. Ray saw a kitchen knife which had been left on the worktop from the previous evening. Ray grabbed it and stabbed Mr Hemmings in the chest with one fatal blow.
As soon as Ray realised that Mr Hemmings was seriously injured he did everything in his power to try and save Mr Hemmings’ life.
In a victim statement read out in court by Prosecutor Richard Woolfall, the deceased’s mother Elaine Anderson said “He was no angel but he did not deserve to die. He will miss his kids growing up and a link in our family chain is now missing.”
Mr Justice Males declared that he accepts that Ray did not intend to kill Mr Hemmings; his intention was to cause him really serious harm – but not kill him.
“I accept that you have shown genuine regret and remorse for the consequences of what you have done, in particular for the impact of his death on his daughters”, he added.
As Ray left the court a supporter shouted “We all love you Steven”.