'He's killed me - tell my brother I love him'
Moments after he was fatally stabbed, Daniel McMullen told a friend: “He's killed me – tell my brother I love him.”
The final words of the popular 29-year-year-old were read aloud in a hushed courtroom as lawyers gave a harrowing account of the revenge attack carried out by a man whose victim had considered him a friend.
The killing was Calvin Patrickson's twisted response to a minor fall-out, Carlisle Crown Court was told.
Patrickson, 22, who admitted murder, must serve at least 18 years in jail. The court heard a detailed account of the events on Saturday, January 7, when Mr McMullen was brutally killed at his home in Workington.
Francis McEntee, prosecuting, described how Patrickson – a young man with past convictions for possessing a knife and wielding a broken bottle in a fight – was among a group of friends who had enjoyed a night out with Mr McMullen in Workington.
They ended the night by returning to Mr McMullen's Beech Court home, where they continued talking and listening to music.
At 4am, one of the group, a young man called Kieran Moore, heard an argument between Mr McMullen and Patrickson, who had repeatedly knocked over a drink.
During this row, said Mr Moore, Mr McMullen hit Patrickson, who was heard saying that he could not believe his friend had hit him.
Thomas Bonner, another of the group, said Patrickson had also knocked over a number of candles which Mr McMullen was keeping in memory of his late father.
Yet another witness heard Patrickson apologising for knocking over the candles and Mr McMullen saying: “It's all right. Just sit yourself down.”
“Mr McMullen seemed very apologetic for hitting the defendant,” said Mr McEntee.
“Mr Moore indicates that the defendant and Daniel McMullen spoke to each other for about ten minutes after this incident, and that things seemed fine between them.”
At 6.19 that morning, said the prosecutor, Patrickson sent Mr Moore a text message, saying: “Am gonna stab im, I swear.”
A short time later, Mr Moore walked into the living room, and saw the defendant standing over Mr McMullen, a green handled knife in his right hand. Mr McMullen was on the floor, clutching his chest. Mr Moore disarmed Patrickson and then pushed him out of the house.
Mr McEntee said: “Micah Stewardson [another friend] had come into the hallway, having been awoken by the noise of this later incident, and arrived as Mr Moore was taking the knife from the defendant.
“She heard the defendant telling his victim: “That's what you get for punching me in the face.” Miss Stewardson then heard Mr McMullen saying: “He's killed me. Tell my brother I love him.”
Even after one of the group texted Patrickson, confirming that Mr McMullen had died, he showed no remorse, his reply saying he didn't care. A post-mortem confirmed Mr McMullen was stabbed twice through the heart and through the right calf.
Mr McEntee outlined how in 2013 Patrickson was given 70 days in jail for possessing a knife in a public place, while in the same year he took part in an attack with two other men, and used a broken bottle.
Kim Whittlestone, for the defendant, said her client had behaved irrationally while under the influence of drink and drugs.
She said: “He is now drug free. Shortly before this offence, there was a significant event in his life.
“It put his alcohol and drug use into a downward spiral. He is going to use his time in custody to address those issues.” She added that Patrickson had shown what was considered to be genuine remorse.
Passing sentence, Judge Peter Davies said that it was clear that despite Mr McMullen believing that they had settled their difference Patrickson had harboured resentment.
After his victim fell asleep, he told a friend: “Watch what's going to happen.” In another text, he expressed his intention to stab Mr McMullen.
The judge said: “As he sat, defenceless on the living room floor, you went to the kitchen and selected a kitchen knife with a 17cm blade – almost seven inches, and it is agreed your intention was to kill.
“You returned to stand over his defenceless body and in cold blood, you stabbed him in the chest twice, each time with considerable force, such that it fractured his ribs, each time penetrating to the depth of 16.5cm, almost the full length of the blade, into his heart.”
The judge said there had been no provocation, the earlier dispute between the two men having been resolved.
“You told others that you intended to exact retribution,” continued the judge.
“You continued to brood and harbour resentment before commiting this offence. You selected for yourself a brutal weapon to stab this unarmed, and defenceless man.”
Judge Davies noted the defendant's history of interest in sharp weapons.
Throughout yesterday's hearing, Patrickson sat impassively in the dock and he showed no emotion as he was led from the dock.
The judge praised the dignified conduct of Mr McMullen's family and friends, who were present in court throughout the hearing. The defendant, of Newlands Gardens, Workington, will be released only when the parole board consider he no longer poses a risk to the public.