Man jailed for life for the murder of Stephen Paynter

21/03/2014

A 36-year old man has today been found guilty and jailed for life imprisonment, to serve a minimum of 22 years, for the murder of Stephen Paynter whose body was found at his home address in Hereford last year.

A jury at Worcester Crown Court heard how the defendant, Stacy Hales, became angry and upset when he was made aware of a relationship between the victim and his ex-partner.

On 3 August 2013, Hales, along with his fellow defendants, Stephen Munn, 21 and Mark Edwards, 23, went in search of Mr Paynter in order to confront him over this relationship and to demand repayment of a £40 debt.

They went to Mr Paynter's home, a multi occupancy house in the city, and waited for him to return.

When Mr Paynter arrived back home in the afternoon, Hales began to aggressively question the victim over the relationship which he had formed with his ex-girlfriend and to demand money from him.

Munn and Edwards remained outside of the room on the stairs and although they did not participate directly in the violence, they were there to provide back up for Hales if required.

The hostile atmosphere between the two men escalated and a physical altercation took place during which Mr Paynter was stabbed in the neck by a kitchen knife with a seven-inch blade.

The three men then fled the scene of the crime and Hales disposed of his blood stained shirt and cleaned himself of the victim's blood. 

The victim's neighbours called the emergency services, but they were unable to save Mr Paynter who died at the scene of the crime.

Following a police investigation, the defendants were arrested and today Hales has been found guilty of murder. Munn and Edwards both pleaded guilty to violent disorder and they were each jailed to 30 months

Robin Allen, Acting Sector Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said:

"Stacy Hales was full of rage after he had discovered that the victim had formed a relationship with his ex-girlfriend. He, along with Stephen Munn and Mark Edward, tracked down the victim with the intent on causing him some degree of harm.

"Once the victim arrived home, Hales confronted the victim which soon resulted in a physical altercation which ultimately led to the brutal murder of Stephen Paynter.

"These defendants all played a part in what was a truly horrific crime.

"Our thoughts are today with the family and friends of Mr Paynter, and we hope that today's conviction can bring some solace to their lives."