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Gloucestershire Business News

Cinderford man convicted of murder

A 46 year old Cinderford man was convicted on Friday (June 7) of murdering a friend by stabbing him at a flat in the town last December (2023).

Jurors at Gloucester Crown Court took four hours and eighteen minutes to find Michael Beach guilty of the murder of Scott Hopkins on December 8, 2023.

Judge Julian Lambert remanded Beach in custody to await sentence on Monday.

During a week-long trial the court heard that when paramedics arrived to treat Mr Hopkins they found the kitchen of the flat in Cinderford 'swimming in blood.'

Prosecutor Richard Posner said that Beach and Mr Hopkins had been out drinking that afternoon with another friend, Phillip Parry, at the Upper Bilson Inn, Cinderford, and all were in good spirts when they returned to Mr Parry's flat in Cinderford High Street and continued to socialise.

"Mr Beach claims that when he went into the kitchen he was followed by Mr Hopkins," said the prosecutor.

"He alleges he picked up a kitchen knife to chop up some cannabis but when he turned around Mr Hopkins walked straight into the knife he was holding.

"But the Crown do not accept Mr Beach's version of events, because the evidence suggests that he wasn't telling the truth about what really happened in that kitchen.

"It is the prosecution's case that Mr Beach used the knife as a weapon. We say he murdered Mr Hopkins, having stabbed him in the chest with a large kitchen knife and by doing so he intended to cause him at the very least serious harm.

"That intention caused Mr Hopkins to die."

The jury heard that at around 10pm Beach told Mr Parry that Mr Hopkins had collapsed on the kitchen floor.

Mr Posner continued: "Mr Parry attended to Mr Hopkins on the floor and immediately called the emergency services, reporting that he was with an unconscious man with blood coming out of his mouth.

" Mr Parry begins performing CPR, following the call handler's instructions.

"Mr Beach then went outside and flagged down the ambulance as it headed along the High Street. He told ambulance crew member Louise Wilcox and another medic that 'he's dead' as they entered the ground floor flat and saw Mr Hopkins lying on the floor, which was covered in blood.

"There was so much blood on the floor that the circumstances could not have been an accident. The paramedics found the stab wound, a nine centimetre deep laceration that had nicked Mr Hopkins' heart and lung.

"Mr Beach is then alleged to have said, 'I've killed him' and he further explained, 'We were just arguing'.'

"Because of the seriousness of the situation another paramedic arrived. Mark Leach then quizzed Mr Beach about where the knife was. Mr Beach pointed to the kitchen sink. Mr Leach then ordered Mr Beach to go outside."

The jury was told that during the next 40 minutes numerous paramedics attended the incident, as did the police. The paramedics stopped performing CPR at 11pm and Mr Hopkins was recorded as dead eight minutes later.

Beach of Ruspidge Road, Cinderford denied the murder of Mr Hopkins on December 8, 2023 but admitted manslaughter. He maintained from the witness box during the trial that the stabbing had been a freak accident.

A 46 year old Cinderford man was convicted on Friday (June 7) of murdering a friend by stabbing him at a flat in the town last December (2023).

Jurors at Gloucester Crown Court took four hours and eighteen minutes to find Michael Beach guilty of the murder of Scott Hopkins on December 8, 2023.

Judge Julian Lambert remanded Beach in custody to await sentence on Monday.

During a week-long trial the court heard that when paramedics arrived to treat Mr Hopkins they found the kitchen of the flat in Cinderford 'swimming in blood.'

Prosecutor Richard Posner said that Beach and Mr Hopkins had been out drinking that afternoon with another friend, Phillip Parry, at the Upper Bilson Inn, Cinderford, and all were in good spirts when they returned to Mr Parry's flat in Cinderford High Street and continued to socialise.

"Mr Beach claims that when he went into the kitchen he was followed by Mr Hopkins," said the prosecutor.

"He alleges he picked up a kitchen knife to chop up some cannabis but when he turned around Mr Hopkins walked straight into the knife he was holding.

"But the Crown do not accept Mr Beach's version of events, because the evidence suggests that he wasn't telling the truth about what really happened in that kitchen.

"It is the prosecution's case that Mr Beach used the knife as a weapon. We say he murdered Mr Hopkins, having stabbed him in the chest with a large kitchen knife and by doing so he intended to cause him at the very least serious harm.

"That intention caused Mr Hopkins to die."

The jury heard that at around 10pm Beach told Mr Parry that Mr Hopkins had collapsed on the kitchen floor.

Mr Posner continued: "Mr Parry attended to Mr Hopkins on the floor and immediately called the emergency services, reporting that he was with an unconscious man with blood coming out of his mouth.

" Mr Parry begins performing CPR, following the call handler's instructions.

"Mr Beach then went outside and flagged down the ambulance as it headed along the High Street. He told ambulance crew member Louise Wilcox and another medic that 'he's dead' as they entered the ground floor flat and saw Mr Hopkins lying on the floor, which was covered in blood.

"There was so much blood on the floor that the circumstances could not have been an accident. The paramedics found the stab wound, a nine centimetre deep laceration that had nicked Mr Hopkins' heart and lung.

"Mr Beach is then alleged to have said, 'I've killed him' and he further explained, 'We were just arguing'.'

"Because of the seriousness of the situation another paramedic arrived. Mark Leach then quizzed Mr Beach about where the knife was. Mr Beach pointed to the kitchen sink. Mr Leach then ordered Mr Beach to go outside."

The jury was told that during the next 40 minutes numerous paramedics attended the incident, as did the police. The paramedics stopped performing CPR at 11pm and Mr Hopkins was recorded as dead eight minutes later.

Beach of Ruspidge Road, Cinderford denied the murder of Mr Hopkins on December 8, 2023, but admitted manslaughter. He maintained from the witness box during the trial that the stabbing had been a freak accident.

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