Beds, Herts & Bucks

Teenager sentenced for New Year's Eve stabbing death

A teenager has been sentenced to six years in custody for killing a man at a New Year's Eve party in Bedfordshire.

Ryan Curtis, 19, from Gilderdale, Luton, pleaded not guilty at Luton Crown Court to the murder of Michael Geffken, 42, early on 1 January 2012.

His guilty plea to the alternative charge of manslaughter was accepted by the prosecution

Mr Geffken died from a heart attack following a stab wound to the chest in Helmsley Close, Hockwell Ring, Luton.

'I panicked'

The court heard Mr Geffken was killed as he tried to get guests to leave the party at the home of his fiancee.

There were a number of teenagers at the party and many of the guests had been drinking heavily and Mr Geffken ended up shouting and brandishing a crutch, the court was told.

Beverley Cripps, prosecuting, said: "He lost his temper because they were refusing to leave. Curtis' girlfriend pushed him in the chest and he threatened to break her nose.

"Ryan Curtis became angry and ran into the kitchen to get a knife and stabbed him once."

Curtis ran off but handed himself into police on 2 January and said in interview: "I panicked, I did not think. I just swung the knife. I did not even know I had stabbed him. People do not always die when they are stabbed."

Lewis Power QC, defending, said: "This is one of those rare and sad cases where in a split second so many people's lives take a monumental turn.

"Ryan Curtis was inconsolable at the time and inconsolable he remains."

Judge Richard Foster told Curtis: "Michael Geffken was perfectly entitled to ask those in the house to leave, and there is no doubt he lost his temper when others refused to go.

"Your good sense and judgement were affected by alcohol and you over-reacted and, instead of persuading your girlfriend to leave, you armed yourself with a knife and took away the most precious commodity - a life."

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