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Richard Lee's chilling three-word threat to his ex's dad - which turned into a prophecy; Richard Lee is starting a life sentence which will see him in jail for at least the next 19 years for the murder of Ryan Thompson in Sacriston, County Durham.

Byline: Ian Johnson

Three years ago, Richard Lee took a relationship break-up badly.

Armed with a wooden weapon, he stormed around his former long-term partner's family's home.

He proceeded to smash it off both her car and that of her parents.

But in a chilling prophecy of what was to come, he warned her dad that he "would stab him".

He didn't - but he did plunge a blade seven inches into schoolmate Ryan Thompson's body, killing him.

As he wasjailed for life for the dad-to-be's murder, the Sacriston stabber's shameful record of violence was finally aired.

Concealed from the jury during the trial, it emerged Lee had previously been locked up for a brutal attack.

Sacriston murder trial: Richard Lee is sentenced to life for stabbing Ryan Thompson

And it was said that the 25-year-old killer first appeared in a crown court dock aged just 15, as a youth.

A decade ago, he was hauled before a judge inCounty Durhamafter "kicking and punching" a man.

His case would be sent back to the youth court for Lee to get a nine-month referral order for ABH.

But two years later, the thug was back in court - and this time he ended up behind bars.

Newcastle Crown Courtheard he "powerfully punched" someone to the mouth.

He was again convicted of ABH but also a charge of affray, in an attack prosecutors claimed was more serious.

A judge agreed, sentencing him to 21 months in a young offender's institute.

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But now he faces life behind bars after a jury spent over eight-and-a-half hours locked in a room, before ruling he was a murderer.

The tragedy unfolded on Gregson Street inSacristonin the early hours of September 1 last year.

The defendant had stormed out after youths stole motorbikes from a friend's garage.

Floral tributes left at property in Sacriston

But Mr Thompson arrived and the court heard that - in a "misunderstanding" - the victim and owner of the bikes initially threw punches at Lee.

Justice Richard Jacobs accepted mitigation that there was an element of self-defence in Lee's actions.

A minimum sentence of 25 years, the starting point for such an offence, was also lowered after the judge accepted the killing wasn't pre-meditated.

Lee will serve at least 19 years behind bars before being eligible for parole.

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Credit: ncjMedia / Durham Constabulary

Richard Lee, who has been convicted of murdering Ryan Thompson

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Publication:The Chronicle (Newscastle upon Tyne, England)
Date:Feb 16, 2019
Words:402
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