Judge Patrick Eccles QC has given his sentencing remarks after Natasha Capell was given life imprisonment for the murder of Kyle Byfield.
Capell, 26, of Jubilee Court, Banbury, will serve a minimum of 18 years after a jury found her guilty after a seven-day trial at Oxford Crown Court yesterday (Wednesday).
And in passing sentence today (Thursday), judge Eccles QC said: “In the early morning of April 16 you stabbed Kyle Byfield with a large kitchen knife and killed him. He was only 23 years old at the time and had done you no harm, apart possibly from refusing to leave your flat when you asked him to.
“It was a life cut unnecessarily short because you were unable to control your drinking or manage your temper.
“The personal statements of Laurie Peach and Mr and Mrs Byfield bring the character and personality of Kyle very much to life in these every painful and tragic circumstances.
“At the time you killed him he was a lively and loving son, a devoted brother still grieving for the loss of his sister ten years ago and a marvellous support to the young woman he hoped he would be his life partner.
“Kyle had so much to contribute and so much life to leave that his family and friends will never come to terms with such a senseless crime that has taken him from them.
“I am satisfied on the evidence given at the trial as reflected in the verdict of the jury that you threatened to stab Kyle Byfield and with that intention in mind went to the kitchen to fetch a knife with a 20cm blade, which you then used to stab him fatally in the chest with more than moderate force.
“Although Kyle Byfield sustained only one wound to his body, I am satisfied that you aimed the knife more than once in his direction.
“There are features of the case which on any view warrant a higher starting point than 15 years. Firstly, you used a dangerous knife with which to attack Kyle Byfield, and in your alcohol-fuelled anger you made a conscious decision to go to the kitchen to fetch it to the living room of your flat.
“Secondly, not only do you lie to the police and paramedics about how Kyle Byfield came to be injured, but you walked some distance through the streets of Banbury to dispose of the knife in what you thought was a rubbish bin.
“Thirdly, in 2013 you were convicted on your plea of guilty of a wounding offence when you repeatedly and irrationally stabbed a friend of yours in the neck with a pair of scissors, an offence that would have been prosecuted under section 18 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861 but for the fact that you were so drunk that you blacked out and could not be proved to have formed the specific intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
“This offence of murder was then committed during the operational period of a suspended sentence that was passed upon you for the offence of wounding.
“It is therefore plain from your past history that you drink too much, that when you are in drink you become aggressive and cannot control your temper, and that you are no stranger to arming yourself with dangerous weapons and using them if you are sufficiently angry to cause injury. Quite apart from this offence you were in my judgement a potentially dangerous offender.
“I accept that you did not intend to kill Kyle Byfield and that there was no relevant premeditation. You killed him in a moment of extreme rage and immediately regretted what you had done.
“I have no reason to doubt the evidence that you and Kyle Byfield were friends and I take the view that had you been sober you would never wished him harm. I accept that you are remorseful and I appreciate that you are very conscious of the fact that you have ruined your own life and that of your child by your violent actions, though the latter has to be of relatively minor concern when weighed against the loss of a good man’s life and the pain his family must henceforth endure.
“It is however perhaps a little more to your credit that while on remand you have taken some positive steps to seek rehabiliation and I am grateful to the Reverend Browne for pointing our that within you there are positive moral characteristics which may enable rehabilitation to be achieved one day.
For the purposes of sentencing I am also prepared to give you some credit for trying to assist Kyle Byfield as he lay grievously injured in your flat, but the credit has to be very limited having regard to the convicing pretence you put on at the same time that you had had nothing to do with his injury.”