Beds, Herts & Bucks

Hitchin man jailed for knife fight murder of neighbour

Sean Flattery
Image caption Sean Flattery claimed Michael Chalkley had threatened to kill him

A man has been jailed for life after being convicted by a jury of murdering his neighbour in a knife attack in a street in Hertfordshire.

Michael Chalkley, 25, died in hospital after he was stabbed near his home in Bingen Road, Hitchin, on 8 April 2010.

Sean Flattery, 21, of Seebohm Close, denied the charge during a 15-day trial at Luton Crown Court.

He was sentenced upon conviction and told he must serve a minimum of 20 years, six months.

The court heard the men had both been drinking, had previous antagonism between them and got into a fight.

Flattery produced a knife and stabbed Mr Chalkley, known as Buzzer, several times in the chest with a kitchen knife.

He backed off and then returned to stab him in the eye, the court heard.

Giving evidence, he claimed Mr Chalkley had grabbed him in a headlock, dragged him across the road and "terrified" him with threats to kill.

He said he swung his arms at Mr Chalkley, who fell to the ground.

'Deadly attack'

Flattery was also convicted of violent disorder and had previously admitted possessing a knife, which the court heard he had carried around for a year before the murder.

Image caption The court was told there was antagonism between Flattery and Michael Chalkley

Kyle Holloway, 23, of Wilshere Crescent, Hitchin, who during the trial was cleared of murder on the direction of Judge John Bevan QC, was convicted of violent disorder for his part in the fight.

He was jailed for three and a half years.

Raymond Small, 21, of Pix Road, Letchworth, was found not guilty of violent disorder and the jury failed to reach a verdict in the case of Richmond Nkhoma, also 21, of Roxley Court, Willian, who faced the same charge.

Judge John Bevan QC told Flattery: "You are a coward who took advantage of weight of numbers to launch a deadly attack."

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