Wiltshire ‘veteran’ stabbed friend to death in ‘banter’

Ian McLaughlin has been jailed for seven years for stabbing Craig Guy during supposed ‘banter’ after a party

A fantasist who falsely claimed to be a war veteran who had cancer has been jailed for seven years for stabbing his friend to death in so-called ‘army banter’.

Ian McLaughlin claimed he was a a decorated paratrooper who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan but was taken prisoner. He said he left the army after sustaining an injury in battle.

In fact, he joined the forces as a driver and lasted only 13 months before leaving due to his poor performance. He spent his whole time at his base in Wiltshire.

His jailing came after he claimed to friends at Catterick Garrison who were also former soldiers that he only had six months to live and organised a get-together.

During the bash, father-of-one Craig Guy was said to have ‘dared’ McLaughlin to use the 12cm-bladed kitchen knife on him.

Others at the gathering said the victim was still standing and laughing after being stabbed, and told McLaughlin: ‘Thank you mate, I’ve got real respect for you.’

He then collapsed and emergency services were called while the men there tried to revive Craig, with McLaughlin attempting resuscitation when police arrived.

Prosecutor Nicholas Lumley, QC, told Teesside Crown Court : ‘An exchange that was described by all the witnesses as being ‘banter’ between the two then took place, in the course of which Craig Guy ‘dared’ the defendant to stab him, handing him the knife and saying ‘go on then’.

‘One witness in the room has it ‘Craig held his chest putting his hands up to the wound, then I saw some blood. Craig was still stood up and laughing, and said “good crack”. It was weird’.

‘Another gave a similar description, saying ‘It was strange. Craig seemed quite joyous about it and even shook Ian’s hand. It appeared to be a laugh and a joke’.’

The incident happened at The Beacon, a centre for Army veterans at the Catterick Garrison

The incident happened at The Beacon, a centre for Army veterans at the Catterick Garrison

McLaughlin, of Catterick, claimed had intended only to ‘tap or prick’ his friend’s chest.

In a heartbreaking statement, the victim’s father John said: ‘I don’t think we will ever be able to come to terms with his loss, and I know we will never be able to understand why he was taken in such tragic circumstances by a man he called a friend.’

He also told how Craig’s five-year-old son asks at bedtime: ‘Where is my daddy. Why is he with the angels?’

The court case heard that serial liar McLaughlin had previously told his wife that he had Parkinson’s Disease when she discovered he had had an affair, and after later leaving her and their daughter, claimed to have cancer.

Mr Guy's father said they could not understand how someone his son called a friend could have taken his life

Mr Guy’s father said they could not understand how someone his son called a friend could have taken his life

Prosecutor Mr Lumley said: ‘He was, and remains, an habitual liar.’

Richard Wright, QC, defending, told the court: ‘What occurred was a terribly misjudged episode of wholly inappropriate horseplay, no doubt clouded by a significant amount of drink the defendant had taken.

‘Nobody foresaw – those watching or the defendant – that there was going to be any significant risk to the deceased.

‘It happened so quickly, and in such exceptional circumstances that everybody was taken aback by the terrible consequences.’

McLaughlin admitted manslaughter and was jailed for seven years and four months.

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton, QC, told McLaughlin: ‘By your act, you have deprived loving parents of their son, a son of his father and a sister of her brother.

‘You have devastated their lives, and those of Craig’s extended family and many friends. No sentence I can pass will even begin to compensate them for their loss.

‘They may never recover from their loss. Only you know how you will come to terms with what you have done, but I suspect you will spend more of your time thinking of yourself rather than others.

‘You have repeatedly claimed that you have killed your best friend and any punishment I impose will be transient in comparison to their loss. It is permanent.

‘You may not have intended to have killed him or caused him grievous bodily harm, but certain it is that before and after that dreadful act, you behaved in an utterly self-indulgent manner.’

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