Murderer who stabbed friend to death jailed for at least 16 years

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A MAN who tried to blame his diabetes for the frenzied scissor stabbing of another man was jailed for life today (Friday).

Andrew Lambert, of Woodlands Road, Nahs Mills, Hemel Hempstead, was told that he would serve a minimum of 16 years for the violent murder of Ryan Cronin.

The 40-year-old had admitted the killing but said he had carried out the attack while suffering a hypoglycaemic episode.

Jurors rejected his account and took less than four hours to find him guilty of the brutal slaying, which left Mr Cronin with 40 stab wounds.

On sentencing him Judge John Reddihough said: “You carried out the most brutal, frenzied and prolonged attack on the deceased.

“Having carried out that attack you left the deceased’s body in his own flat until he was found two days later by his friend. You then took steps to cover up evidence.

“You have taken his life in the most vicious of circumstances, stabbing him more than 40 times with a pair of scissors. His suffering must have been extreme.”

Lambert was told that the 287 days he had spent in custody while awaiting trial would count towards his sentence.

During Lambert’s trial prosecutors had countered the defence’s claims over the effect of his low blood sugar.

John Coffey QC, defending, had told the jury that Lambert’s mental function had been ‘impaired’ at the time of the killing, on August 3 last year.

He was not only suffering from hypoglycaemia but was also living with personality disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), for which he was taking atomoxetine medication that would have boosted his adrenalin further after it was heightened by his low blood sugar.

“When the body senses that the glucose level is declining it releases adrenaline as a reaction - it produces that ‘fight or flee’, a sense of heightened reality,” he said.

“The eyes dilate, the lungs expand, the heart beats faster and when you add into the mix the drug atomoxetine there is a bigger adrenaline rush, and the combination of the two can have an effect.”

Mr Coffey also said that following the death of 41-year-old Mr Cronin, Lambert had confided in another diabetes sufferer that he had “killed a man”, but said that he did not do it intentionally.

Yet Ian Acheson, prosecuting, asked why, if the defendant had gone to 41-year-old Mr Cronin’s flat in desperate need of sugar, he had then left without taking any.

He alleged that instead of suffering from diabetes Lambert was on a booze-fuelled hunt for revenge after a feud between him and Mr Cronin.

The court heard that Lambert believed that Mr Cronin had been responsible for the drug-related death of another man, Sean Elliott, and also thought Mr Cronin had injected him with drugs while he was sleeping.

Neighbours of Mr Cronin, who lived in Quarrendon Road, Amersham, Bucks., said that they heard screaming coming from the flat, before Lambert emerged - his legs covered in blood.

Blood sugar level tests Lambert had taken earlier that day and two hours after the killing had either given normal readings, or had shown that his blood sugar level was high.

The jury of five women and seven men at Reading Crown Court was told that they could find him guilty of manslaughter by diminished responsibility but they all agreed Lambert was a murderer.

The defendant, who opted not to take the witness stand during his trial, showed no emotion as his fate was sealed.

Judge John Reddihough told Lambert “The jury have unanimously found you guilty of the offence of murder and, as you will know, the sentence specified by law is life imprisonment.

He told the jurors: “It is always sad when somebody has to be tried for the crime of murder.

“A case like this is a tragedy for many people, including the defendant.”