Page last updated at 11:41 GMT, Friday, 30 January 2009

Neighbour jailed for sword death

Gary Kelly
Kelly gave himself up to police the day after the attack

A man who killed his neighbour with a samurai sword in a row over a football has been jailed for 11 years for manslaughter.

Father-of-three David Martin, 40, was killed by Gary Kelly, 38, in Mitcham, south-west London, last January.

The Old Bailey heard Mr Martin had earlier intervened when a 10-year-old boy said his two friends refused to return his ball.

He was then attacked in Kelly's front garden in Rutter Gardens.

The Old Bailey had been told the incident was triggered when the boy telephoned Mr Martin, who heard him cry out in pain after being kicked.

"The boy decided to leave the football game and wanted to take his football with him," said Edward Brown QC, prosecuting.

David Martin
David Martin died when one of his major blood vessels was cut

"His friends, however, decided not to give him his ball back, teased him and played pig in the middle with him, and the like."

Mr Martin went to help and had picked up a bicycle belonging to one of the friends, and had also grabbed a boy by the scruff of the neck, the court heard.

Kelly, who had been drinking and smoking cannabis, and had nothing to do with the boys, came out of his house and threatened Mr Martin with a beer bottle.

Mr Martin returned home and took a piece of wood, used as a parrot perch, and headed back to Kelly's property.

It feels like my heart has been ripped out and part of me is missing
Wife Angela Martin

Kelly emerged with the sword and part of a snooker cue which he used to attack Mr Martin in the front garden, said Mr Brown.

Mr Martin died when one of his major heart blood vessels was cut.

Kelly told the court he acted in self-defence.

Judge Christopher Moss said to Kelly: "You had lost your self-control by reason of provocation.

"Your use of the sword was quite deliberate."

Mr Martin's wife, Angela, had told the court in an impact statement: "It feels like my heart has been ripped out and part of me is missing."

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