Page last updated at 15:24 GMT, Thursday, 22 May 2008 16:24 UK

Life term for fatal city stabbing

Robert Richardson
Robert Richardson suffered a single stab wound to the chest

A 19-year-old who stabbed a man to death in a "cowardly attack" has been jailed for life.

Robert Richardson, 33, from Kenton, Newcastle, died soon after being found injured inside a van in Kirkley Close, Gosforth, in September.

Lee Cruddas of Great North Road, Gosforth, had denied murder but was found guilty by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.

He was sentenced to life, and ordered to serve a minimum of 12 years.

Mr Richardson suffered a single stab wound following a minor verbal altercation.

He was attempting to leave the scene in a van, when Cruddas broke the window and stabbed him.

All we ask for is for is stiffer sentences for knife and violent crimes
Family of Robert Richardson

Cruddas had claimed in court that he was acting in self-defence to protect himself and his sister.

Detective Inspector Steve Barron, of Northumbria Police, said: "I'm satisfied with today's finding of guilt and subsequent sentence.

"Robert was not known as an aggressive or violent man and this was clearly a cowardly attack on a young man who was not armed and was attempting to leave the area."

Mr Richardson's family said in a statement: "We are very happy with this verdict because we all knew he was guilty from the start.

"We will never get justice because no sentence will ever be long enough to compensate for the loss of Robert.

"All we ask for is for is stiffer sentences for knife and violent crimes. It should be a life for a life.

"Our wish would be that before anyone who picks up a weapon to use, they walk in the shoes of the parents, family and friends for a day to understand the devastation their actions cause."


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