Tyne & Wear

Christopher Chapman murder: Girls jailed for life

Natasha Johnson, left and Megan Hope
Image caption Natasha Johnson, left and Megan Hope had both been drinking vodka

Two teenage girls have been jailed for life for the murder of a man during a drunken row in Northumberland.

Natasha Johnson was 16 when she stabbed Christopher Chapman, 24, of Blyth, in the stomach with a kitchen knife, severing his aorta, in April.

Johnson, now 17, of Tynedale Drive, Blyth, denied murder but was convicted at Newcastle Crown Court.

Megan Hope, 19, of Rosalind Street, Ashington, who watched the attack, was also found guilty of murder.

Johnson must serve a minimum of 15 years and Hope at least 13 years.

The hearing was told that Hope was armed with a carving knife as she stood by during the murder outside Mr Chapman's flat in Windmill Grove, Blyth, on 19 April.

'Out of control'

Both girls had drunk vodka, whisky and wine and went to Mr Chapman's home "armed and intent on violence", the court heard.

Just before the attack they had been exchanging insults on the phone with one of Mr Chapman's friends.

Johnson claimed Mr Chapman, who had asked the girls to leave his flat, had impaled himself on her knife as she brandished it in self-defence.

But a jury rejected her claim and found them both guilty of murder.

Jailing the teenagers, Judge James Goss said: "The circumstances of this violent and needless loss of Christopher Chapman's life provide a stark example of the problem of young, drunk people out of control, arming themselves with knives and going out intent on fighting."

He said Hope had played a "secondary, but supportive role" by going armed and encouraging Johnson.

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