Leigh Park murder: Kevin Batchelor jailed for at least 18 years for killing 'best friend' George Allison
A HABITUALLY violent man who stabbed his ‘best friend’ to death in a ‘pointless’ stabbing seven weeks after being released from prison has been jailed for at least 18 years.
Kevin Batchelor, 26, plunged a 12in kitchen knife into 21-year-old George Allison’s back in a drunken attack at a home in Tichborne Grove, Leigh Park, on May 23 last year at 11pm.
Today at Winchester Crown Court George’s sister Jade Hurst, 31, said her younger brother had only just come back into her life having been taken away by his dad as a youngster.
She said: ‘To be robbed of a sibling, it’s terrible. To get them back again is wonderful, to be robbed a second time, and this time to live with the knowledge that his death could have been prevented, will haunt me forever.
‘I didn’t lost my younger brother that night, I lost part of myself.
‘My children lost their uncle, my mum lost her son, and the family as a whole lost someone who had been absent for so long but desperately wanted to make up for lost time.’
In her statement, read by prosecutor Martyn Booth, she said she was the first to be told by police and had to inform her mother and family.
They were in ‘total shock and disbelief’.
She said: ‘The major impact on my life is the pointlessness of George’s death. He was not perfect but he never pretended to be.
‘He was just facing up to his past to put it behind him and make a better life.’
Now Batchelor, who has 44 previous convictions for 103 offences, has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 18 years.
When he killed George he was just seven weeks out of a 16-month jail term for robbery.
Outbursts from the public gallery interrupted judge Jane Miller QC passing sentence, with the judge having to warn one woman she would be arrested if she continued.
Sentencing, judge Miller said Batchelor showed ‘little remorse’. She said: ‘You started the argument, you plunged the knife with such force and so deep that the one wound was fatal.’
She said during the trial Batchelor attempted to ‘make George’s character as bad if not worse than your own,’ trying to ‘blacken George to get out of a conviction’ and tried to paint him as a drug dealer.
Addressing Batchelor, she said he ‘simply got angry with something that George said’ and reacted with ‘habitual violence’.
He has previous for wounding, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, arson, affray, racially-aggravated common assault and obstructing police.
Both men had been drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis.
At least an hour before the fatal stabbing Batchelor had wanted to fight George in the garden ‘over nothing more than you being upset that he was trying to make you look small,’ the judge said.
George refused ‘saying that you were his friend,’ the judge said.
They had been ‘taking the mickey out of each other,’ Cherelle Ash told jurors, adding it was ‘banter’.
Ms Ash, who lived in the home, recalled hearing Batchelor say ‘don’t talk to me like that’ before George said: ‘I’m not scared of you’ and things then took a ‘bad turn’.
Batchelor grabbed the blade and was stabbing ‘erratically’ when he delivered the fatal blow to the back of dad-of-two George’s left shoulder causing ‘catastrophic’ injuries.
Batchelor sped off on a bike before arriving at his sister’s home to wash and change his clothes.
George, from Riders Lane, in Leigh Park, died just before midnight.
Sarah Jones QC, for Batchelor, said her client showed ‘immediate remorse’ trying to staunch George’s wound before he was screamed at to leave.
She said: ‘He has recurring nightmares that he relives this moment, sometimes waking five times a night having relived the incident there are times when he sees his friend and there are physical symptoms of PTSD reproduced in him by what has happened.’
Ms Jones added his own physical abuse at the hands of his uncle, death of his mother and abandonment by his father at six had led to a dissocial personality disorder diagnosis.
This meant it’s ‘not all his fault’, Ms Jones said.
In a statement, Dan O’Neill, CPS Wessex Senior Crown Prosecutor, said: ‘We worked with Hampshire Constabulary from the outset to ensure there was sufficient evidence to prove that Batchelor was guilty of murder.
‘Batchelor claimed that he was acting in self-defence when he stabbed George in the back, a man he described as being a lifelong friend.
‘By piecing together witness statements, CCTV, mobile phone data, forensic and DNA evidence, we were able to prove that what might have started as a disagreement between the two, turned into an attack with fatal and tragic consequences.
‘Our thoughts today remain with George’s family and friends.’
Jurors were told Batchelor, of East Hill, Camborne, Cornwall, ‘lost the plot’ and punched George before seizing a 12in kitchen knife and stabbing George in the shoulder causing ‘catastrophic’ injuries.
George collapsed in the living room of friend Cherelle Ash’s home as Batchelor fled.
Batchelor arrived at his 34-year-old sister Hayley Batchelor’s home in Highwood Lawn, Leigh Park, where his clothes were washed.
Barry Baker, 39, of Oracle Drive, Widley, disposed of the knife in a storm drain near The Swallow pub, in Dunsbury Way, Leigh Park.
Baker and Miss Batchelor were each convicted of assisting an offender, having denied the charges.
Lewis Turner, 32, of Fore Street, Camelford, Cornwall, was found not guilty of the charge he denied.
During the fatal incident, the fourth person at the barbecue, Chellby Ferrol, came between the two men on the fatal day and suffered an injury.
Batchelor was found not guilty of wounding with intent on Ms Ferrol while trying to inflict grievous bodily harm on Mr Allison.
He was also found not guilty of the alternative charge of unlawfully wounding Ms Ferrol.