Page last updated at 13:13 GMT, Thursday, 29 January 2009

Facebook killer jailed for life

Paul Gilligan (Pic courtesy of GMP)
Paul Gilligan died shortly after the attack in Bolton

A teenager who posted a message on Facebook saying he felt like killing someone, hours before stabbing a man to death, has been jailed for life.

Leon Ramsden, 19, of Turnstone Road, Bolton, stabbed father-of-three Paul Gilligan, 31, while drinking in the Pepper Alley bar in Bolton last July.

Mr Gilligan, of Salford, suffered stab wounds to his shoulder and chest.

Mr Justice Teare, sentencing Ramsden to a minimum of 17 years, said the killing was "senseless and unprovoked".

During his trial, Manchester Crown Court heard that earlier that evening Ramsden wrote on Facebook he felt "like killin some1".

'Senseless murder'

The court heard he had been on a three-day alcohol and cocaine-fuelled binge and had not slept for 36 hours prior to stabbing Mr Gilligan.

The jury took just over six hours to find Ramsden guilty of murder on Wednesday following a two week trial.

Leon Ramsden snorting drugs
Ramsden had been on a three-day drink and drugs binge before the killing. (Pic from GMP)

On Thursday, Judge Teare told him: "This was a senseless and unprovoked murder which has devastated Paul Gilligan's family."

The prosecution said the pair had been seen play fighting in the bar but Ramsden left, returning seconds later to stab the victim.

Customers in the bar called the attack "unexpected" and "brutal" but initially they did not realise Ramdsen had knifed Mr Gilligan because he concealed the knife in his fist.

He was arrested later that evening when a doorman at a nearby nightclub found a knife sheath on him and alerted the police.

The Facebook entry was deleted, but was recovered from a laptop used by a witness to access the site after hearing about the stabbing.

Paul didn't deserve this, nor would he have anticipated such brutality
Mr Gilligan's family

The judge added: "You could simply have left the area of the club but you chose to return and stab Paul Gilligan.

"Nothing Paul Gilligan did could justify or excuse your actions. I therefore do not regard provocation as a mitigating factor."

Following the sentencing, Greater Manchester Police released a picture of Ramsden snorting cocaine on the day before he killed Mr Gilligan.

In a statement read out by Det Insp Mark Roters outside court, Mr Gilligan's partner said the family would never get over his death.

"This youth has never shown remorse and he felt he was untouchable," the statement read.

"He knew he had killed a man, one loved by many, in a heartless, shocking, cowardly stabbing.

"Paul didn't deserve this, nor would he have anticipated such brutality. He is greatly missed and was such a happy, social, family man."

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