Derby

Staveley pub acoustic guitar attack killer jailed

Jason Knowland Staveley pub guitar death Image copyright Facebook
Image caption The court heard Jason Knowland could become violent when drunk

A "violent drunk" who fatally injured another man when he hit him with an acoustic guitar has been jailed.

Jason Knowland, 46, "took exception" when Peter Matts, 69, asked him to move the instrument so his friend could sit down at a pub in Staveley, Derbyshire.

Mr Matts sustained brain injuries when Knowland swung the guitar at his face, knocking him to the floor.

Knowland, who admitted manslaughter, was jailed for eight years and three months at Nottingham Crown Court.

He was cleared of murder by a jury.

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The court heard Knowland had a history of drinking heavily, and could become violent once drunk.

On 21 June, the day of the attack, he had reportedly asked several customers at the pub why they were looking at him, and had "taken exception" when 69-year-old Mr Matts asked him to move his guitar.

'Impulsive and violent'

Mr Matts, who fractured his skull and broke his cheek in the attack at Beechers Brook pub, died in hospital.

Medical experts disagreed over the extent to which Knowland suffered from personality disorders and whether his drinking constituted an alcohol dependency.

But the court heard the defendant had been seeking psychiatric help in the months before the assault.

Judge John Burgess, sentencing, said there was "no evidence to explain" Knowland's attack on Mr Matts, but said there was nothing the victim could have done to provoke such a response.

"You are impulsive and have a tendency to react with violence," he told the defendant, adding drink was "undoubtedly a problem" for him.

In addition to his custodial sentence, Knowland must also serve four years and nine months on extended licence and pay a victim surcharge.

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