Man jailed for fatal stabbing


Mark Cheneler, 33, of Didcot, Oxfordshire, was yesterday jailed for 5 years for the fatal stabbing of his friend. Cheneler claimed to be protecting his friend’s girlfriend at the time of the fatal stabbing.

Charged with murder, Cheneler was convicted of a lesser charge of manslaughter by a jury at Oxford Crown Court after a little more than 4 hours of deliberation.

The victim, Ashley Ward, 22, also of Didcot, had been a friend of Cheneler with whom the defendant had spent the afternoon of April 2, 2004, preceding the fatal stabbing, drinking and smoking cannabis.

The two men had met up with Ward's girlfriend later in the afternoon and then proceeded to another friend's house where they spent more time drinking until later that evening. The trio then went to the home of Ward and his girlfriend where a row broke out between Ward and his girlfriend who was due to be a prosecution witness in a trial involving Ward's brother.

Following the row, Cheneler invited Ward's girlfriend to come to his house at Roebuck Court in Didcot. Soon after, Ward turned up at the home of Cheneler and confronted his girlfriend again. A struggle then ensued between Ward and Cheneler, resulting in the fatal stabbing by Cheneler to Ward's neck. The stabbing severed vital arteries causing massive blood loss and the death of Ashley Ward within minutes.

Cheneler denied murder. Following his trial and conviction for manslaughter at Oxford Crown Court, Cheneler was sentenced to 5 years in prison.