Peter Gilling murder: Derek Pallas jailed for 26 years

Peter Gilling Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Peter Gilling was found fatally injured in Billingham in September 2018

A man who stabbed a "much-loved son" to death has been jailed for life.

Peter Gilling, 39, was found fatally injured outside Melsonby Court flats in Billingham, Teesside, early on 29 September - he died in hospital an hour later.

Derek Pallas, 36, was convicted by a Teesside Crown Court jury and told he must serve at least 26 years in jail.

Darren Willans, 31, was cleared of murder after a 13-day trial. Both men had denied the charge.

Image copyright Cleveland Police
Image caption Derek Pallas had denied murder

Pallas and Mr Willans, who both admitted seeing Mr Gilling around the time of his death to buy drugs, had blamed each other for the murder.

Mr Willans, of Warren Court, Hartlepool, admitted hitting the victim but denied ever carrying a knife.

The jury accepted prosecution claims that Pallas, of Marsh House Avenue, Billingham, attacked Mr Gilling with a knife, inflicting wounds to his head, back, stomach and leg.

The victim's family said: "We have been left utterly saddened and shocked by Peter's death.

"He was a much-loved son, brother and grandson and he will be hugely missed by all his family and by his many friends."

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