Britisher cleared of Lankan's murder
A 19-year-old lad from Merseyside who stabbed to death a shop worker
in a bungled robbery in Huyton has been cleared of murder.
Gambling addict Sam Harrison of Salerno Drive, Huyton, carried out
the raid because he was desperate for cash. He'd already admitted
manslaughter and was sentenced to ten years.
The jury had seen shocking video footage of the eight second incident
in which he stabbed Sri Lankan father-of-two Mahesh Wickramasingha in
the neck severing his jugular vein.
He immediately fled empty handed from Stanley News in Kingsway and
threw away the blood stained 10 inch fishing knife and burnt his
clothing, which he had worn to disguise his appearance. The knife had
penetrated three and three quarter inches and reached his spine.
Harrison, a college student, was a regular customer of the shop and
used to chat to the staff, including his victim, who had been in the
country for a year trying to earn enough money to provide a better life
for his poor family back home.
After they returned a not guilty verdict to murder following three
and a half hours deliberations the judge Mrs Justice Swift said his
acquittal "might be regarded as merciful".
The court heard that in the days before the killing jobless Harrison
had gambled away a £530 gift from his father in Syria, intended to buy
and insure a scooter. And on the very night of the killing he lied and
begged a cousin to lend him £300 which he gambled with at the betting
shop the morning after Mr Wickramasingha's death.
Nicholas Johnson, QC, defending, said that Harrison, who is immature
and had had a difficult background, was genuinely remorseful. "He did
not intend to cause serious harm albeit he ran a terrible risk," he