Page last updated at 14:09 GMT, Wednesday, 22 July 2009 15:09 UK

'Provoked' boat-sex killer jailed

William Cranston
William Cranston told the court he "lost his rag"

A man who stabbed his partner and his best friend to death after he found them having sex on his canal boat has been jailed for 12 years.

William Cranston was previously cleared of their murders but convicted of manslaughter, by reason of provocation.

The 44-year-old killed Kay Morton, 39, and Paul Wilkins, 55, on a narrow boat in Stoke Hammond, Buckinghamshire in September.

Cranston was sentenced to 12 years by a judge at Kingston Crown Court.

'Remorse genuine'

Judge Anthony Leonard QC told Cranston: "You are responsible for the deaths of two individuals who did not deserve to die at your hands.

"It was clear when you gave your evidence that you showed remorse for what you had done and I felt that the remorse was genuine.

"I take into account that you tried to administer first aid as they lay in the cabin."

But he said the 12 year sentence was a necessary reflection of the "seriousness" of the two killings, Cranston's "short fuse" and the "sustained" attack he inflicted on Mr Wilkins.

At Cranston's trial last month Reading Crown Court heard how he, Ms Morton and Mr Wilkins had been drinking at a nearby pub before returning to the narrow boat where they continued drinking and smoking cannabis.

Cranston went to bed but later woke up to find his partner and friend having sex.

'Lashed out'

He told police after the stabbings: "Paul jumped up and came towards me.

"I can't remember picking up the knife. When he came towards me, I just sort of lashed out to find out what was going on.

"Literally five seconds later, they were both on the floor bleeding to death, and I've got a knife in my hand."

The jury had been told Cranston's baby son, Kevin, had died the previous February on the sofa where he discovered the pair.

Cranston told the court: "I can't believe this has happened to everybody. I just walked in there and lost my rag completely."

Cranston, who was handed two 12-year jail terms to be served concurrently, will have time already spent in custody deducted from the sentence.

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