A teenager who stabbed a dad to death with a screwdriver in a shopping centre has been jailed for 15 years.

Ewan Ireland attacked Peter Duncan, 52, at the entrance to Newcastle’s Eldon Square shopping centre in August.

Agitated Ireland, 17 at the time, pulled out a screwdriver he had just shoplifted, and stabbed the devoted father once in the heart after the pair simply brushed past each other.

Mr Duncan, who was an in-house lawyer for an international maritime firm, managed to walk on a few yards before he collapsed close to a Gregg’s outlet.

Horrifying CCTV captured Ireland fleeing the scene carrying the stolen weapon before dumping it in a bin still stained with his victim’s blood.

Ireland, jailed for 15 years, admitted murder at a previous hearing, and the media was able to publish his identity once he turned 18 in October.

After the killing, which cause shock and outrage on Tyneside, Northumbria Police said the attack was unprovoked and described it as a “chance encounter”

The court heard Ireland discarded the screwdriver in a wheelie bin to the rear of Stowell Street as he ran away.

CCTV had tracked him there and the police searched the bin and recovered the weapon still stained with blood.

Richard Wright QC opening the case today said: “Peter Duncan was 52 years of age. He was employed as a solicitor in this city and spent the 14th of August at work.

“At about 18:20 on the 14th he left his office and set off on a familiar route home.

”That journey necessitated him walking from his office to the bus station at Eldon Square in order to make his journey home by public transport.

“Loitering outside the entrance to Eldon Square was the defendant who was in the company of a number of other youths.

“The defendant was captured on the CCTV system of Pound land at about 18:13 shoplifting a packet of screwdrivers together with an unpackaged single screwdriver from the store.

“That single screwdriver would shortly afterwards be used to stab Peter Duncan to death.”

Mr Duncan’s wife, Maria, gave a victim impact statement, in which she said her “life has ended”.

She also spoke of their last phone call before her husband was brutally murdered.

Mrs Duncan told the court she had called Peter to say she had bought their children’s school uniforms and that she was heading home.

He replied: “Great, I’m leaving work now so will see you soon.”

Maria, who was joined by around 30 family members for the hearing, said in a victim impact statement read by Mr Wright: “On August 14 my life was ruined and my sons’ lives were ruined by a senseless and unprovoked act of a stranger.

“I called him and texted him but got no reply. I thought he had been injured but when I got to the RVI the doctor said there was nothing they could do to save him.

“He had been stabbed straight through the heart and nothing could be done to save him. Those words haunt me every single day. I had to see him to believe what I was told was true.

“I felt I had been stabbed through the heart too.”

“He had so much of his life left to live and he’ll be in our hearts and thoughts every day.

“The future now is painful. Birthdays, Christmas and holidays without Peter are just unbearable.

“Peter was the perfect husband and my best friend. He was such a loving and caring man.

“Everyone keeps telling me Peter was always smiling and they are right. He was always smiling, he was happy, we were happy.

“That’s ended, my life has ended.”

The case was previously adjourned after Ireland admitted murder to allow psychiatric and psychological reports to be prepared.

After he pleaded guilty, it emerged that Ireland was a serial youth offender who continued to commit violent crimes despite being on bail.

He had 31 previous convictions and was on bail for affray at the time15 years

 

 

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