Lancashire

Man killed school friend in drunken row in Blackpool

Joshua Whitley Image copyright Police handout
Image caption Stephen Routledge was found guilty of manslaughter after a two-week trial at Preston Crown Court

A man who stabbed a former school friend to death during a drunken fight has been jailed.

Stephen Routledge, 25, fled after killing Joshua Whitley in a "cowardly" attack in Blackpool last July.

Mr Whitley, 26, died from a single stab wound to the chest, Preston Crown Court heard.

Routledge was convicted of manslaughter after a two-week trial and was sentenced to seven years and 10 months in prison.

Image copyright Police handout
Image caption Joshua Whitley's family said he was "missed beyond measure"

Lancashire Police said the pair went to the same boarding school in Milnthorpe, Cumbria.

They had recently got back in touch and met up at Routledge's flat in Station Road before getting into an argument, the force said.

After his arrest, Routledge was treated at hospital for what later turned out to be self-inflicted stab wounds.

At the time of arrest, Det Sgt Chris Williams said Routledge's "alcohol-fuelled attack on his childhood friend" was "violent and cowardly".

"Routledge made matters worse by leaving the scene, knowing full well what he had done to Joshua," he said.

"He has continually failed to take responsibility for his actions."

Following the verdict, Mr Whitley's family said they were "grateful that finally we have justice for Josh".

Paying tribute, they said he was "loved beyond words and missed beyond measure".

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