A MURDERER with a history of carrying knives has been jailed for life for killing Blackburn father James Murray.

Judge Mark Brown, Honorary Recorder of Preston, told Lee Kenyon he will serve a minimum term of 22 years before he is considered for parole.

Mr Murray’s family broke down in tears as his son Damien Murray read out a harrowing victim personal statement in which he described how his life had been ‘destroyed’ by Kenyon’s actions.

Fighting back tears, Mr Murray said: “I feel destroyed. I put on a brave face for the world. I laugh and smile and take part in things. But all I feel inside is loss.”

In a statement read out by prosecutor Benjamin Myers QC, Mr Murray’s daughter Tara described how she suffers panic attacks in which she has visions of the ‘brutal murder of her father’ and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Family of murder victim James Murray pays tribute to 'joyful' father, brother and son

In her victim personal statement, Mr Murray’s wife Beverley Murray said: “The day I was told Jim had been murdered I felt like I was broken inside. I can’t describe the anguish I felt.”

Earlier in the hearing at Preston Crown Court, Mr Myers had said Mr Murray had been killed by a single knife blow delivered by Kenyon to his chest in an upwardly motion.

Kenyon, 35, of Hall Street, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to murdering Mr Murray in Largs Street, Blackburn, on October 2, but on the basis that he did not mean to kill him and he was waving the knife around to frighten his victim.

Following a trial of issue Judge Brown accepted that Kenyon, who has served custodial sentences for robberies involving knives in the past, did not mean to kill Mr Murray.

But the judge concluded there was ‘clear intent to cause really serious harm’. He also rejected Kenyon’s claim that 51-year-old Mr Murray had attacked him in the lead up to fatal stabbing.

Opening the prosecution’s case, Mr Myers said Mr Murray had turned up at the home of his brother-in-law John Henry shortly before 1.20am on October 2 wanting to settle a family dispute from around a month earlier.

Present in the house were Mr Henry, Kenyon and his girlfriend Francesca Haworth.

Mr Myers said: “Mr Murray banged on the window and was shouting at Mr Henry to go outside. Mr Henry told him to go away and said that he did not want to fight him. It appeared that Mr Murray was under the influence of alcohol. He continued to shout and bang on the window.

“Mr Murray went to the front door and Mr Henry, together with the defendant and his girlfriend, went there to tell him to go away. Mr Henry left the doorway and at that point went upstairs to where he kept a stun gun. He was ready to use this. As Mr Henry went upstairs Mr Kenyon stepped outside.”

The court heard at that point Kenyon went outside with his girlfriend and, after a verbal dispute, he stabbed Mr Murray before running from the scene.

Taking to the stand Kenyon claimed he had been punched in a ‘cluster of blows’ by Mr Murray but that was rejected by Judge Brown.

The court heard that Kenyon, who said in court he had been smoking crack and drinking heavily in the weeks building up to the fatal incident, did have injuries to his face. But they related to an incident at the Texaco Garage in Bridgemill Road, Blackburn, on September 30 when Kenyon had stabbed Mr Barton.

I murdered man but didn't intend to, Blackburn attacker claims

The court heard that Kenyon and Barton had been friends but their relationship had deteriorated and the defendant had threatened to stab his victim.

And when the two men came across each other at the petrol station Mr Barton asked him “where’s your knives now?”, before punching him in the face twice. Kenyon then pulled a machete from inside his coat and stabbed Mr Barton straight through his upper left arm. Although he did require treatment, he suffered no long-lasting injuries.

Kenyon pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm and possessing an offensive weapon in relation to that incident.

Defending, Andrew Jeffries QC, said: “He has a poor record, he is a habitual carrier of weapons. Up until this fatal incident he hadn’t used those weapons. What weight that has I don’t know. There was always going to be that danger.”

As Kenyon was taken from the dock, a woman in the public gallery shouted: "Rot in hell."