Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Gary Took a Lot of Abuse but Stood Up for His Innocence

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Gary Took a Lot of Abuse but Stood Up for His Innocence

Article excerpt

Byline: By Brenda Hickman and Garry Willey

Relatives of knife attack victim Gary Cornish today spoke of their agony as they watched his one-time friend jailed for manslaughter.

Killer Peter Stevens was found guilty of the savage stabbing in Newcastle's Cloth Market which followed a long-standing feud.

Father-of-three Mr Cornish was acquitted of the 1998 Chepstow Road murders, when four people died in a house fire.

Stevens was a prosecution witness in the trial and there was animosity between the pair.

Scores of revellers witnessed the violence which erupted quickly on Friday October 15 last year and Stevens was arrested at the scene.

Jailing Stevens for 10 years at Newcastle Crown Court yesterday after an eight-day trial Justice David Clarke said although Stevens had been carrying the lock knife he was not satisfied he had gone looking for his rival.

Justice Clarke said: "The jury have accepted you were provoked into what you did. But when the time came that the confrontation in the street took place and the fight took place and you were under attack, what you did at the end by producing and then using the knife raised this case to a completely different level of seriousness.

"You killed that man, inflicting six wounds including one to the heart. I'm very much aware of the effect of that action on the family left behind."

Mr Cornish's parents Alan, also known as John, 44, and Karen, 40, were devastated by the death of their only child age 23. In a statement after the verdict they said: "Gary had a great personality and was well liked. For seven years Gary took a lot of abuse for the Chepstow Road murder case when he was charged with murder but later acquitted in court.

"He was picked on, verbally abused and spat on. But he stood up for himself, never left Scotswood and always maintained his innocence. We always believed him."

The couple added: "More recently he had grown up and had grown out of trouble. He said he wanted to start work to train to be a joiner. …

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