Devon

Man fatally stabbed stranger in Barnstaple Tesco car park

Lee Turner Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Lee Turner was stabbed in a Tesco car park in Barnstaple

A man was stabbed to death by a stranger in a supermarket car park, a jury has ruled.

Lee Turner, 39, died after the attack just after 18:00 BST on 3 August outside a Tesco store in Barnstaple, north Devon.

Kevin Gale, 51, who has paranoid schizophrenia, was unfit to plead at Exeter Crown Court.

The jury unanimously decided Gale carried out the stabbing. He is due to be sentenced next week.

'Spiderman' knife

Mr Turner, who was buying milk at the retail park store, suffered three 6cm (2.4in) deep wounds in his back and chest and died from "catastrophic blood loss", the court heard.

Gale, from Rackfield Road, Barnstaple, said Mr Turner gave him a "strange look" as they passed outside and made him feel intimidated.

He followed Mr Turner for about 100 yards (90m) before the attack.

A throwing knife with Spiderman insignia and a 9cm (3.5in) blade was found close to the scene.

Image caption Gale followed his victim about 100 yards before the attack

Gale had suffered with mental health issues for a number of years and had been under the care of a mental health team in north Devon since 2011, the court was told.

His family told police his condition deteriorated after a key worker left their role 18 months before the stabbing.

The court heard they contacted a crisis team but a person they spoke to made them feel like they were wasting their time.

A family member described Gale's behaviour as "concerning".

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He had knives and a Samurai-style sword in his house but had not been in trouble with police before, the court heard.

The jury was asked to rule if they were "sure the defendant killed Lee Turner".

Image caption Mr Turner's brother said his last words would "echo with us forever"

Mr Turner's brother, Clyne Hamilton-Daniels, welcomed the verdict of unlawful killing.

"The shock and horror of his death was all too much for our mother Penny who sadly passed away just weeks after Lee's death," he said.

He said that Mr Turner's last words would "echo with us forever".

A spokesman for Devon Partnership NHS Trust said: "This is an extremely sad case and our thoughts are with the family of the deceased.

"We have commissioned an independent investigation into the incident and we will ensure that we embed any learning from this full and thorough review."

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