News, Culture & Society

Neighbour stabs elderly man with BBQ fork before burning

A Victorian man has been jailed for at least 10 years for brutally killing his neighbour after drunkenly mistaking innocent physical contact as an unwanted sexual advance.

Stuart Matthew McKnight killed his 79-year-old neighbour Graham Stevenson after going to the elderly man’s Clifton Springs home in 2016 to help him fix a broken pantry door.

The 47-year-old was on Friday sentenced to 13 years in jail, with a minimum period of 10 years, after earlier pleading guilty to manslaughter and arson.

Stuart Matthew McKnight killed his 79-year-old neighbour Graham Stevenson (pictured) after going to the elderly man’s Clifton Springs home

The 47-year-old was on Friday sentenced to 13 years in jail, with a minimum period of 10 years, after earlier pleading guilty to manslaughter and arson

The 47-year-old was on Friday sentenced to 13 years in jail, with a minimum period of 10 years, after earlier pleading guilty to manslaughter and arson

McKnight had been friends with the retired engineer for several years, Victorian Supreme Court justice Michael Croucher said.

But on May 19, 2016, McKnight attacked Mr Stevenson and left him to die with a carving fork impaled in his chest.

‘In the course of helping him fix the broken pantry door, McKnight wrongly perceived what was only incidental touching as an unwanted sexual advance,’ Justice Croucher said.

McKnight, then 45, responded by punching the older man in the nose and attacked him with a piece of wood as Mr Stevenson tried to defend himself with a carving fork.

After stabbing the elderly man with the fork, McKnight used petrol to set fire to the widower’s home.

The 79-year-old was still alive when firefighters found him among the smoke and flames with full thickness burns to 15 per cent of his body.

‘The fork had been left impaled in his chest,’ Justice Croucher said.

‘He was in a very bad way but still alive.’

The 47-year-old was on Friday sentenced to 13 years in jail, with a minimum period of 10 years, after earlier pleading guilty to manslaughter and arson

The 47-year-old was on Friday sentenced to 13 years in jail, with a minimum period of 10 years, after earlier pleading guilty to manslaughter and arson

Mr Stevenson died in hospital two days later when his life support was switched off.

Justice Croucher said McKnight was ‘carrying on like a pork chop’ when firefighters arrived to put out the fire.

His ‘odd and melodramatic’ behaviour – including a feigned attempt to get inside the burning home and lies about where he had been – aroused suspicion, and he was questioned by police.

McKnight also smelt of alcohol and petrol, and forensic tests later confirmed he had petrol on his clothes.

After stabbing the elderly man with the fork, McKnight used petrol to set fire to the widower's home (pictured)

After stabbing the elderly man with the fork, McKnight used petrol to set fire to the widower’s home (pictured)

‘A 79-year-old man was bashed in his own home over the merest of misunderstandings,’Justice Croucher said.

‘He was bashed mercilessly for no other reason than a drunken man’s perception about minor physical contact.’

McKnight has already spent 582 days in pre-sentence custody.

 



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk