Man jailed for killing gay admirer

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A man who killed a gay admirer by stabbing him six times in the face has been jailed for life

Daniel Doherty, 24, was found guilty of murdering of Stephen Hewitt, who was found with six knife wounds to his face, including two to his eye sockets, at his flat in Kenneth House.

He was ordered to serve a minimum of 15 years by judge Michael Pert, at Nottingham Crown Court.

Forensic experts found Stephen Hewitt’s blood on the sleeve of Daniel Doherty’s coat after police sent it for tests. Forensic scientist Emma Banks told the jury that three areas of blood had been found on the defendant’s black and grey jacket. A blood stain on the back of the right sleeve had matched Stephen Hewitt’s DNA.

Mrs Banks said: “This blood could be deposited by the sleeve coming into contact with Stephen Hewitt as he was bleeding or by coming into contact with a surface with his blood on it.”

A small blood stain on the left chest area of the jacket had matched the defendant’s DNA, as did a spot of blood found on one his shoes.

Tests on spots of blood on another part of the jacket’s sleeve were inconclusive.

Two cans of lager in Mr Hewitt’s flat at Kenneth House, Bridge Street, matched samples of Doherty’s DNA. But no match could be found on the kitchen knife which police found embedded in Mr Hewitt’s eye.

Nicholas Dean QC, prosecuting, said the victim was found with a tea towel around his head with two “stab- style” cuts in it.

Earlier in the trial, the jury heard Mr Hewitt had told the defendant’s brother Anthony Doherty, that he was attracted to Doherty, but his advances were ignored.

Both men had gone back to Mr Hewitt’s flat on January 26 last year, the day the victim was last seen alive.

Doherty’s mother, Kathleen Smedley, told the court that her son, who was an alcoholic, had arrived at her home the next day in a paranoid state.

She said he told how he had wanted to kill a “queer” he had seen walking in Derby city centre and that he was thinking of doing something that would make her dislike him.

Prosecutor Nicholas Deane QC, speaking during the sentencing, said he did not believe the killing was a homophobic attack.

He said it was more than likely that Mr Hewitt died because of a sexual advance, but there was no evidence that Doherty was homophobic.