Page last updated at 13:02 GMT, Friday, 20 June 2008 14:02 UK

Life for son's murder in chip row

Martin Thompson, 51, is given life for the murder of his son.

A father has been told he must serve at least 12 years in jail for stabbing his son to death in a drunken row over chips at their home.

Martin Thomson, 51, was convicted of murdering Craig, 29, at their home on the Gurnos estate in Merthyr Tydfil after he had been drinking all day.

The family said both "hit the bottle" after the elder man's wife died.

Mr Justice Lloyd-Jones said at Cardiff Crown Court: "I have no doubt you are devastated at what you have done."

The court heard both men had turned to heavy drinking after the death of Martin Thomson's wife - Craig's mother - in 1996.

Craig Thomson was stabbed in the chest by his father early on 30 November last year.

He heard his father shouting: "Who's pinched my chips?" and went downstairs to speak to him but found him carrying a four-inch knife.

The tragedy in 1996 left him without a rudder - he did what he could but, sadly, he hit the bottle like Craig did
Martin Thomson's sister Cheryl

After a tussle, Thomson stabbed him in the right leg, and then stabbed him three times in the chest. The jury at the trial last month heard Thomson claim he was peeling potatoes and pushed his son, not realising the knife was still in his hand.

But there was no evidence of potatoes being peeled in the kitchen, while frozen oven-ready chips were found in a pan.

Imposing a life sentence, Mr Justice Lloyd-Jones told Thomson: "I have no doubt that almost immediately you became fully aware of what you had done and it will haunt you for the rest of your life.

Craig and Martin Thomson
Son and father had both been drinking heavily

"I have no doubt you are devastated at what you have done."

Peter Blair, defending, read out letters from Thomson's family saying he turned to alcohol after his wife's death.

A letter from his sister Cheryl said: "He was the most timid, vulnerable and shy person in the family.

"The tragedy in 1996 left him without a rudder.

"He did what he could but, sadly, he hit the bottle like Craig did."

Mr Blair said: "His children Adam and Katie have written about their father and the situation in their family which one might regard as touching and surprising.

"They understand the effects on their father - that he will be punished - but they wish to put across his actions were really quite exceptional and unexpected and out of character."

Mr Blair said Thomson was remorseful and became tearful whenever he talked about Craig.

After the case Adam Thomson said: "I'm very unhappy about the result - I was hoping it would be a lot shorter."


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