Ashley Luff: Jealous ex-boyfriend jailed for 16 years after stabbing love rival 17 times

A JEALOUS ex-boyfriend who stabbed his love rival 17 times in a ‘frenzied’ ambush including once ‘over the heart’ has been jailed for 16 years.

By ben.fishwick1
Saturday, 18th May 2019, 11:25 am

Ashley Luff was emotionless in the dock as judge Roger Hetherington handed down the sentence for the ‘brutal’ attack on Nathan Birch, who started dating the defendant’s former partner Chantell Price last summer.

Addressing Luff, judge Hetherington said: ‘I have no doubt that the reason you committed this offence is because you were consumed by jealousy and the fact that you had lost Chantelle Price to Nathan Birch.’

He added: ‘You were motivated entirely by jealousy but there was a substantial degree of premeditation and planning, and of course you took a knife to the scene intending to use it.’

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Victim Nathan Birch was stabbed 17 times by Ashley Luff. Pictures show 24-year-old chef Nathan in hospital after the attack on August 19, 2018, in Southampton Road in Park Gate. Pictures: Nathan Birch

In a victim statement read in court Mr Birch said: ‘This is something I will never forget and the scar will remain with me physically and mentally for the rest of my life.’

The judge said: ‘You made a deliberate plan to arm yourself with a knife, wear gloves, get someone to take you to a nearby road, wait for you afterwards, and then lay in wait behind a parked car until he came along on his cycle.’

Mr Birch said he had nightmares after the attack, still struggles to sleep nine months afterwards, and felt nervous cycling to work.

‘I’m still very nervous when I go out, I’m always looking over my shoulder to see if anybody’s following me or about to attack me,’ Mr Birch added.

The knife used by Ashley Luff to stab Nathan Birch 17 times in Southampton Road, Park Gate on August 19 in 2018. Picture: CPS Wessex

Portsmouth Crown Court heard how restaurant worker Luff, 32, had waited in Southampton Road, Park Gate, before springing an ambush on 24-year-old Mr Birch - knocking the chef off his bike before stabbing him 17 times, chasing him down the road, ditching the knife in a drain at Long Acres and trying to flee from police.

Prosecutor Simon Jones said: ‘He produced that knife in what turned into a frenzied attack and the sheer number of wounds, two of which requiring considerable force to administer show that this was a man intent on killing Nathan Birch.’

Luff’s jealousy had been ‘brewing,’ prosecutor Simon Jones said, since August 4 when he saw his ex-partner Chantelle Price and Mr Birch share a kiss at Slug and Lettuce pub in Fareham after it was broadcast on Facebook Live.

Despite being brutally attacked Mr Birch was able to escape when Luff kicked him into a ditch - then fell in himself. The victim fled back to his work at TGI Fridays where staff called medics who had to reinflate his collapsed lung.

Bloodied gloves used by Ashley Luff when he stabbed Nathan Birch in Park Gate in an attempted murder. Picture: Hampshire Police

Gloves found in a nearby silver BMW were soaked in Mr Birch’s blood, and the recovered knife was also covered in blood. When Luff was stopped in an alleyway at a retail park nearby and arrested he was asked if he had anything sharp on him.

Dad-of-three Luff, of Bedford Drive, Fareham, has 15 convictions for 23 offences, including for battery and attempted robbery between 2000-2005. He was found guilty of attempted murder last month after claiming he just wanted to rob Mr Birch.

Sarah Jones QC, mitigating, said: ‘There’s a fragility and brokenness about him that undoubtedly contributed to this for which he is not wholly responsible.’

Ms Jones added: ‘It was a desperately foolish, sad and dangerous thing that he did, of course it was. He will have years to regret it.’

Ashley Luff. Picture: Hampshire Constabulary
Bloodied gloves used by Ashley Luff when he stabbed Nathan Birch in Park Gate in an attempted murder. Picture: Hampshire Police