Alison Wilson murder: Stephen Duggan jailed for life

Alison Wilson Image copyright Cheshire Police
Image caption Alison Wilson was stabbed with a broken bottle

A man who killed a "good Samaritan" after she stepped in to calm a row between him and a woman with a baby has been jailed for life for her murder.

Stephen Duggan, 29, of Runcorn, was found guilty of stabbing Alison Wilson in the neck with a broken wine bottle in Widnes after she tried and defuse the argument late at night on 7 March.

He was also found guilty of wounding Ms Wilson's partner, Anthony Tomlinson.

At Liverpool Crown Court, Duggan was ordered to serve a minimum of 22 years.

He had previously pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Ms Wilson, a 36-year-old mother of two, but that plea was not accepted by the prosecution.

'Less intimidating'

Duggan had been rowing with the woman and "tussling" over the baby's car seat when Ms Wilson and Mr Tomlinson drove past in a taxi at about 23:20 GMT, the court heard.

The prosecution said Ms Wilson had told her partner she would intervene to be "less intimidating", while Mr Tomlinson said he had "did not feel threatened at all" by Duggan.

The jury heard that after the couple stepped in, Duggan suddenly turned on Mr Tomlinson, smashing a wine bottle over his head and pushing the broken remnants into Ms Wilson's throat.

Image copyright Cheshire Police
Image caption Duggan was found guilty of murder and wounding with intent

Ms Wilson died of her injuries in Whiston Hospital six days later. Her partner required plastic surgery on his head wound.

In his witness statement, Mr Tomlinson said Ms Wilson had a smile that would light up a room, and her death had left him feeling "emptiness and loneliness".

Duggan, who also admitted assaulting the woman he was arguing with, was found not guilty of causing actual bodily harm to the baby.

Lindsey Prosser, BBC North West Tonight

There were gasps from the families of Alison Wilson and Anthony Tomlinson as the jury returned the guilty verdict.

Described by the judge as "thoroughly decent and public spirited", the pair were attacked as they tried to defuse a street argument.

In her impact statement, one of Ms Wilson's sisters said her murder had "left a place in our hearts which can never be filled", adding the 36-year-old's young daughters were having to deal with her "brutal and pointless death".

Sentencing him, the judge said Duggan had attacked the pair in a drunken temper and his crimes had affected the lives of "many others".

As Duggan left the dock, he smirked.

After sentencing, Ms Wilson's family said she died trying to be a "good Samaritan and trying to help other people - that is the kind of person she was and how we want her to be remembered".

"Whilst no amount of justice will bring Alison back, we hope that it will allow us some closure as we try to move forward with our lives."

Det Insp Helena Banusic, of Cheshire Police, said Ms Wilson had tried to "defuse a potentially volatile situation - only to be met with abuse and then violently attacked", adding that one of the paramedics who went to her aid said it was "the worst scene they had ever come across".

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