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Man convicted of murder at Bradley Stoke house

Lee Llewellyn

A man has been convicted of murdering a friend at a house in Bradley Stoke.

Lee Llewellyn used a knife to kill 32-year-old Martin Hefferman, from Fishponds, at a house in Honeysuckle Close during the early hours of Saturday 18 November 2023.

Llewellyn had denied one count of murder, claiming Martin had accidently jumped onto the knife, but was convicted by jurors following a nine-day trial at Bristol Crown Court.

The 51-year-old, of Froomshaw Road in Bristol, received a life sentence on Friday 25 May.

The jury was told Llewellyn and Mr Hefferman had been at the address with two women, one of which owned the property, for approximately 48 hours before the tragic incident occurred. A quantity of alcohol and drugs had been consumed during that time.

Neither of the women saw the fatal stabbing, but told police they had heard an argument between the two men downstairs shortly beforehand. They then found Mr Hefferman bleeding and critically injured on the landing.

One of the women called police at approximately 3.20am and the first officers arrived approximately 10 minutes later.

Llewellyn told those officers he had ‘stabbed the guy’ and he had sustained rib injuries in an altercation with Mr Hefferman before picking up the knife.

On being transported to the police car he said he hoped Mr Hefferman survived because he did not want ‘no murder charge’. He also stated when on route to custody he said: “I didn’t mean to do it but he attacked me.” When in custody though he replied ‘no comment’ to all questions.

In court Llewellyn claimed the death was as a result of an accident.

Mr Hefferman was pronounced deceased at the scene by ambulance staff shortly after 4am.

A pathologist’s report concluded Mr Hefferman died of a single stab wound to his upper chest, damaging his heart. The prosecution argued the severity of injury and the location of the wound showed Llewellyn intended to kill or cause Mr Hefferman (pictured below) very serious injury.

Martin Hefferman pictured in the street wearing a black sleveless vest

His Honour Judge Martin Picton handed Llewellyn a life sentence, ordering him to serve a minimum of 18 years in prison before he can be considered for parole.

Addressing Llewellyn, he said: “Martin Hefferman was a friend of yours. Despite that, and despite the fact that he represented no threat to you or anyone, you chose to stab him in the chest in a manner that clearly demonstrated you acted with the intent to do so.

“As you said shortly before, you were losing your temper with Martin and you were going to stab him. You said that upstairs and then you went down, picked up the steak knife and did just what you said you were going to do.”

He did however accept it had not been proven to a criminal standard whether Llewellyn had ‘intended to kill’ Mr Hefferman.

HHJ Picton said Mr Hefferman had lost his life ‘tragically young’.

Detective Inspector Mark Newbury, of the Major Crime Investigation Team, said: “It’s clear there was a dispute between Lee Llewellyn and Martin Hefferman in the moments before the murder took place.

“Whatever caused that argument cannot justify the conscious decision Llewellyn made to grab a knife, which he used to kill Martin.

“It may have been a decision made in the heat of the moment, but it is inconceivable he would not have recognised bringing a knife into the argument could have tragic consequences. Sadly, that proved the case.

“He then made several telling admissions to police after being arrested.

“Martin was a young man whose life was snatched away from him on that fateful day six months ago.

“We are pleased to have secured a conviction for his family. They have shown courage throughout our investigation as they seek to come to terms with losing their son. Our thoughts remain with them.”

*** Story was originally published upon conviction on Thursday 24 May and was updated the following day after sentencing ***