Life sentence for Derby knife murder

|News, Violent crime

A young woman from Derby has been given a life sentence for a knife murder in the city. Clara Butler (22) was convicted of murder for stabbing Lance Martin during a late-night brawl in Normanton and was handed a life sentence on Thursday 12 September.

Mr Martin was killed after a drunken spat escalated into violence. Clara Butler was sitting on her doorstep on Portland Road in Normanton, when Mr Martin walked past after an evening’s drinking. The two got into an argument and a series of fights broke out. In between two of these violent episodes, Butler ran back to her house, armed herself with a knife and took it back to the fight. The violence culminated in a brawl near the Vulcan Arms involving Mr Martin and Butler, together with her father, sister and sister’s partner. During the fight, Clara Butler stabbed Mr Martin in the back four times. After striking the fatal blows and fleeing the scene, she handed the murder weapon to Kieran Bareham, her sister’s partner, who attempted to dispose of it.

After a four-week trial, Clara Butler was convicted of murder. Kieran Bareham was convicted of assisting an offender, for his actions in disposing of the knife. Butler was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum term of 20 years. Bareham was jailed for two years. Bareham and the others involved in the fighting, Jamie and Francesca Butler were cleared of any involvement in Mr Martin’s death.

Lisa Morris from the CPS said: “The tragedy of this case is that Lance Martin’s death was entirely senseless. He and Clara Butler were complete strangers to each other, but their argument resulted in loss of life because she chose to arm herself with a knife. We have been clear to the jury that Mr Martin had been a key player in the violence that erupted that night. However, the evidence in the case showed his death was caused by the deliberate actions of Clara Butler and not, as she claimed in her defence, an attempt to protect her father from Mr Martin.

“To prosecute murder, the CPS must demonstrate that the defendant’s intent was to kill or at least cause really serious harm. CCTV footage showed Clara Butler returning to the scene armed with the knife. We demonstrated to the jury that taking the knife to scene after the violence had started showed this intent and that her actions were murder.

“I would like to offer my sincere sympathy to Mr Martin’s family.”

Notes to editors

Lisa Morris is a Senior District Crown Prosecutor at CPS East Midlands. She is the Area's strategic lead for knife crime.

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