Thursday 22 February 2018

Man who tried to stab ex-girlfriend after killing her lover is jailed for life

Matthew Sharpe Photo: Cambridgeshire Police
Matthew Sharpe Photo: Cambridgeshire Police

Sam Russell

A "possessive" ex-boyfriend who tried to stab his former partner to death and murdered her new lover has been jailed for life.

Matthew Sharpe, 40, had been in a relationship with 27-year-old Charna Knights for nine years, but she ended it on New Year's Day this year partly due to his controlling nature, Cambridge Crown Court heard on Friday.

A long-term friend, 28-year-old Andrew Hasler, offered Miss Knights temporary accommodation at his flat and they then confided they had feelings for one another, prosecutor Peter Clark said.

The court heard Sharpe saw Miss Knights and Mr Hasler together, "could not accept it" and had said "if I can't have her, no one can".

He went into a branch of Tesco Extra and bought a pack of three sharp knives and one larger boning knife at around noon on January 8 and launched his attack half an hour later at Mr Hasler's home in St Ives, Cambridgeshire.

He told Miss Knights "I'm sorry" then grabbed her round the neck and stabbed her in the chest, narrowly missing her heart.

Mr Hasler "bravely intervened" and tried to save her and Sharpe "went at him, stabbing and slicing at him," Mr Clark said.

Mr Hasler, who suffered 13 stab wounds including one to the heart, died and then Sharpe attacked Miss Knights again.

Neighbour Andrew Phelps, who had heard a commotion, entered the flat through the unlocked back door and wrestled the knife from Sharpe, saving Miss Knights's life.

Sharpe fled and was detained by police after jumping into a river and was found to have cut his wrists and neck.

Judge David Farrell awarded Mr Phelps £1,000 for his "outstanding and courageous act" of bravery.

Sharpe, who appeared by prison videolink, admitted the murder of Mr Hasler and the attempted murder of Miss Knights at an earlier hearing.

Judge Farrell described the attack as "brutal" and sentenced Sharpe to life in prison with a minimum term of 25 years.

He told Sharpe: "You would not accept her rejection of you and you would not move on as you had been asked to do.

"The jealousy and possessiveness in your character drove you then to a decision which you voiced at the time of the act, that 'if I can't have her, no one else can'."

He said that Sharpe was "controlling and possessive".

"A common theme that ran through the relationship was the way you sought to control everything she did, from managing the money to telling her what time she had to be home after a night out," he said.

Sharpe, of Humberley Close, Eynesbury, Cambridgeshire, had been engaged to be married to Miss Knights.

In a victim impact statement, she said: "Although I knew he had a temper, I had no idea he could commit such an evil attack."

William Carter, mitigating, said: "He simply lost it. He can provide no better explanation than that."

Sharpe was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 25 years for murder and life with a minimum term of 20 years for attempted murder, to be served concurrently.

Miss Knights and Mr Phelps were in court for the sentencing and made no comment as they left.

Press Association

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