Kickboxer who stabbed pub landlord to death over ban is jailed for 28 years

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK
Lee Abbott was found guilty of murdering father-of-three Christian Thornton outside the Hammer and Pincer pub on August 11, 2019.(CHESHIRE POLICE/PA)

A man who stabbed a landlord 11 times in a frenzied attack after being barred from his pub has been jailed for life.

On Thursday, Lee Abbott, 35, was found guilty of the murder of father-of-three Christian Thornton, 49, outside the Hammer and Pincers pub in Widnes on August 11 last year.

The court heard Abbott had gone to the pub armed with a large kitchen knife and stabbed Mr Thornton 11 times.

He had been barred from all pubs in the area for 12 months as part of the PubWatch scheme after Thornton heard him bragging about carrying a knife.

The court heard how Abbott stabbed publican Christian Thornton (pictured) 11 times in a frenzied attack outside the Hammer and Pincers pub in Windes, Cheshire. (CHESHIRE POLICE)

He also threatened to burn down Mr Thornton’s premises following his ban.

Despite the ban, Abbott returned to the Hammer and Pincers at around 3.10pm that day.

Abbott was sentenced to life, with a minimum of 28 years to be served, at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday. (CHESHIRE POLICE)

He was asked to leave by Christian and started to walk away from the pub before turning around, running back towards him and pulling a knife from a backpack and fatally stabbing him.

Abbott, of Rose Street, Widnes, was arrested about an hour later by armed police at his friends’s house nearby.

The court how he told officers: “You don’t need any evidence, I stabbed him to f***.”

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He admitted manslaughter but denied murdered on the grounds he did not have the intent to murder as he was heavily intoxicated and had diminished responsibility on the basis of an abnormality of mental functioning.

The jury was told he was sexually abused by a gangster when he was a teenager.

Abbott was sentenced to life, with a minimum of 28 years to be served, at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday.

Footage showing Abbott's arrest, around an hour after he fatally stabbed the publican to death. (PA)

In a statement released after the sentencing, Mr Thornton’s widow Pam said: “Lee Abbott not only took my husband’s life but also destroyed my life and the lives of our three children.

“Since that day, the indescribable pain I have lived with has been multiplied as I watch our children try to come to terms with losing their dad in such a violent way.

“They do so with dignity and strength that would make their dad proud.”

Handout screengrab from CCTV dated 11/8/2019 issued by Cheshire Constabulary just before Abbott (left) stabbed Thornton to death. (PA)

Following the verdict on Thursday Detective Inspector Kate Tomlinson, who led the investigation, said: “Abbott’s actions that day have torn a family apart and rocked the local community. Christian was a well-known character locally, he did so much for local charities and will be greatly missed by many.

“Before the incident Abbott had the opportunity to walk away, but instead he made a conscious decision to return and attack Christian, which ultimately resulted in his death.

“This has left three children without their father, and his wife, Pam, has lost a loving husband. Their pain has been increased by the fact that they have been made to sit through an 8 day trial and relive what happened on that day.”