A man found guilty of murdering his next door neighbour has been handed a life sentence.
Paul Dillon, 52, of Guinness House, Little Hardings in Welwyn Garden City appeared at St Albans Crown on Friday, where he was told he would serve a minimum of 22 years in jail.
Police were called to Guinness House, Little Hardings on Sunday, March 16, following reports of an argument between Dillon and 26-year-old charity worker Scott Stone, also from Welwyn Garden City.
When officers arrived, they found Mr Stone collapsed on the stairwell of the flats. Mr Stone, who had been unarmed, had been stabbed to death by Dillon.
Speaking about the sentence, Detective Inspector Fraser Wylie from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit said: "Scott was a young man who had his whole life in front of him. His life was cruelly taken away from him and his family by the actions of Paul Dillon and the sentence fully reflects the severity of Dillon’s actions.
"I would like to pay tribute to Scott’s family who has acted in the most dignified manner given the circumstances. Not only did they lose their loved one in such a horrific way, but they have also had to endure a trial and relive the terrible events of that day. The verdict and sentence will not bring Scott back, but I hope the result is of some comfort to them and that it will assist them with moving forward in their lives."
A statement from Mr Stone’s family said: "We have been left absolutely devastated by the loss of Scott. Whilst we are pleased to see justice done today, nothing anyone can do or say will bring back Scott to us - we have all been robbed of a great son, a genuine friend and partner and his daughter has lost her father who she adored. This has been a hugely draining and emotional time for us all but we have been supported by friends and the police and we would like to thank them for this. We would ask the media to respect our request for privacy at this extremely difficult time."
Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) added: "Dillon confronted Mr Stone in the communal hallway of the block of flats, where he and Mr Stone's girlfriend lived, armed with a large knife with the intention of killing him or at the very least causing him really serious harm and, without saying a word, deliberately stabbed him in the chest, puncturing his heart. The confrontation stemmed from an on-going neighbour dispute between Mr Stone's girlfriend and Dillon and his friend, who all lived on the same floor in the block of flats. Mr Stone died in the stairwell a short time later. Dillon is undoubtedly an extremely volatile and dangerous man.
"Dillon claimed he stabbed Mr Stone in self-defence, but the jury found him guilty of murder despite his denials.
"This case represents a tragedy for the family of Mr Stone. The victim was brutally murdered by a man, who was barely known to him, over a petty neighbour dispute. His family and friends have been devastated by his untimely death.
"I would like to pay tribute to Mr Stone's family for their wholehearted support of this investigation and the dignity they have displayed while hearing the horrific details of how Mr Stone was killed.
"We have worked closely with Hertfordshire Constabulary since this investigation was launched and as a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved. We know that nothing will bring Mr Stone back to his family and friends, but we hope that today's conviction and sentence brings them at least a small sense that justice has been done. Our thoughts are very much with them all at this time."