A MAN who stabbed his brother to death after a row over cash and drugs spiralled out of control has been jailed for 13 years.

Vincent Bell, 36, was found guilty of manslaughter after he stabbed Damian Banks, 34, three times, including once through the heart, in his Durham home.

The former electrical engineer claimed he accidentally plunged the 14cm kitchen knife in his younger brother’s chest during a alcohol and cocaine fuelled row.

But a Teesside Crown Court judge refused to accept Bell stabbed his brother by accident and branded the tragedy “an example of the misery drugs cause”.

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC said: “There was an argument and you made the deliberate decision to get a knife. There was no doubt a struggle and you inflicted three stab wounds. They were deliberate and they were unlawful.

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“You chose to insist it was an accident. You told your mother and partner you stabbed him but you told the jury it was an accident. It wasn’t an accident.

“This is what happens when you arm yourself with knives. They are even more dangerous in the hands of someone like you who was full of drink and drugs.

“You brought the early death of your brother and you must go through the rest of your life with the knowledge of that. I have no doubt you were quite close. If asked for an example of the misery drugs cause, this would be it.

“Your mother is now in a dreadful position, losing her son at your hands while another faces a substantial prison sentence.”

The court heard the heartbreaking impact the tragedy has caused to the mother of the brothers who described the pair as like “chalk and cheese”.

Quoting the mother, John Elvidge, defending, said: “Vincent and Damian are both my sons and I love them equally. They are chalk and cheese but they loved each other.

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Damian Banks

“No one can imagine how it has affected me. I worry for Vincent who isn’t the person who he appears to be in this charge and also grieve for Damian. I cannot lose both of my sons.”

Mr Elvidge added the brothers and mother moved to Durham from Walsall in the West Midlands for a “fresh start” in 2017 after Bell became depressed following his partner’s death.

The court previously heard Bell had taken cocaine for two days straight and had not slept before arguing with Damian about cash and cocaine at his flat on March 30.

Bell, of Turnbull Close, Durham, claimed he grabbed the 14cm kitchen knife to protect himself during the row and didn’t realise his brother was injured until he fell backwards and said “you stabbed me”.

Damian, who was the father of two children, died after paramedics performed open heart surgery on Bell’s living room floor.

Bell, who denied murdering his brother, remained expressionless as he was handed 13 years in prison.

As he was led out of the dock, his mother from the public gallery shouted: “I love you Vince.”