Man guilty of murdering Southend father stabbed in 'drugs' row

Michael Haastrup Image copyright Essex police hand out
Image caption Michael Haastrup died in a row over drugs, Chelmsford Crown Court heard

A man has been found guilty of murdering a father who was stabbed to death in an argument about drugs.

Michael Haastrup, 24, from Southend, was attacked at a flat in Braintree, Essex in April last year.

Luke Eva, 25, of Avondale Road, Leigh-on-Sea, was found guilty by a jury at Chelmsford Crown Court.

A dispute over drugs "ended in a confrontation that had fatal consequences", police said.

During the trial the court was told Mr Haastrup, who had become a father shortly before his death, was stabbed in the thigh and the chest.

He was attacked at a flat in Cressing Road which belonged to a mutual friend of the two men.

'Life cut short'

Prosecutor Karim Khalil QC said the defendant had argued with Mr Haastrup over the phone on the evening of the stabbing, 16 April 2014.

An hour later, Mr Eva took a taxi to the flat, carrying a knife with him.

Mr Khalil said Mr Haastrup was stabbed with two different knives and was pronounced dead in hospital.

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Luke Eva, 24, from Avondale Road in Leigh-on-Sea, denied murdering Michael Haastrup

Speaking after the verdict, Det Ch Insp Mark Hall said: "I welcome this guilty verdict to give some peace to Michael's family and friends. Michael was a young man who had just become a father. His life was cut short by the actions of Luke Eva on that night in Braintree.

"This case illustrates the deadly impact that drugs and knife crime can have on families, societies and the local community."

Image caption Michael Haastrup was attacked at a flat in Cressing Road, Braintree, in April last year

In a statement issued shortly after Mr Haastrup's death, his family said: "He was loved by many and helped people when he could.

"He used to bring in young homeless children to spend Christmas with his family to make them feel a part of this world again and bring hope into their lives."

Eva will be sentenced on Friday.

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