A MAN who stabbed his stepfather to death with an eight-inch kitchen knife after a family row has been sentenced to life after he was was found guilty of murder.

Christopher Hodgson, 20, who had been drinking heavily, knifed 37-year-old Steven McIntyre five times in the left side of his chest in the early hours of November 19 last year. One wound damaged his spleen, which caused heavy bleeding and his lung to collapse.

A jury at Newcastle Crown Court was told Hodgson barged into the lounge of his mother’s home in Austen Place, Stanley, County Durham – despite repeated pleas from his mother Lisa Walsh and sister Louise Hodgson to leave.

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During the trial Hodgson’s defence team portrayed Mr McIntyre as “manipulative and controlling”.

But, in a statement, his mother Olive McIntyre said: “Steven, my only son, whose life was taken by Christopher, will always be remembered with love.

“The defence portrayed Steven as a monster. This is not true. He had a very kind heart and would help anyone who needed it, be it a friend, a neighbour or a stranger.

“Yes, he could get angry like everyone, but that did not turn him into a violent criminal.

“Christopher’s resentment and jealousy of his mother and Steven’s relationship has to my mind festered over the years. Christopher got his revenge, he killed him.

“Unlike Christopher, Steven will be remembered with fondness and love by all who knew him. Justice has been done today.”

Passing sentence, Judge James Goss, the Recorder of Newcastle, said: “It was a needless loss of life for which you are responsible.

“It is yet another example of the consequences of someone disinhibited by drink, arming himself with a knife and intending to use it.

“You are an intelligent young man and, although I have no doubt you regretted your actions after you realised the seriousness of what you had done, you are neither naive, nor particularly immature for your age and you clearly have a vicious temper.”

Robert Woodcock, mitigating, told the court that his client “showed immediate remorse when the gravity and horror of his actions became clear to a sobering mind”.

Hodgson denied murder, but admitted manslaughter, arguing he had suffered a loss of control.

But, after deliberating for threeand- a-half hours yesterday, a jury found him guilty of murder.

Judge Goss ordered Hodgson serve a minimum of 17 years before being able to apply for parole.

He was also sentenced to a concurrent 18 months’ term in a young offenders’ institution for an attack in which he assaulted a man with a knuckleduster in Stanley for “grassing” on a friend.

In a separate hearing, Hodgson admitted assault, actual bodily harm and possession of dangerous weapon on August 26 last year.