Rochdale alleyway murder: James Hurst jailed over knife attack

James Samuel Hurst Image copyright GMP
Image caption James Samuel Hurst will serve a minimum of 26 years in prison

A man has been jailed for life for the "cold-blooded murder" of a man in an alleyway in Greater Manchester.

James Samuel Hurst, 29, stabbed 33-year-old Matthew McKenzie in the chest in an alleyway near Promenade Street, Heywood on 12 January.

Hurst, of Littlemoor Lane, Oldham was found guilty of murder and possession of a bladed article.

At Manchester Crown Court, he was told he would have to serve a minimum of 26 years.

Image copyright GMP
Image caption Matthew McKenzie's family said there was "no sentence long enough" for Hurst

The court heard Mr McKenzie and Hurst had been visiting friends at a house in Heywood together.

They left at about 20:00 to walk to Promenade Street and it was then that Mr McKenzie was stabbed in the chest by Hurst.

Mr McKenzie's body was found by a passer-by a few hours later.

A post-mortem examination revealed Mr McKenzie had also suffered cuts to his arm and hands, believed to have been while trying to defend himself.

Bob Tonge, senior investigating officer for Greater Manchester Police, said: "Hurst plunged a knife into Matthew's chest, piercing his heart, before leaving him to die.

"There is no question that this was a cold-blooded murder but Hurst put this family though even more agony by denying it."

Mr McKenzie's family said they felt that "justice had been done".

In a statement, they said: "Matthew's life was tragically taken in January, a victim of an unnecessary knife crime.

"The heartache and hurt will remain with us forever."

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