‘Acting in self defence’ knifeman cleared

PUBLISHED: 12:30 16 July 2015


A partygoer has been found not guilty of stabbing a fellow guest after telling a jury he was acting in self-defence.

Rory McGrane says victim Frank Lee was coming at him with a knife in his hand when he struck first and stabbed him in the back during a scuffle at a party in Exmouth.

He said he saw a knife in Mr Lee’s right hand and believed he was trying to get at him, or a friend standing next to him, when he decided to strike first.

McGrane, 21, of Louisa Place, Exmouth, denied wounding and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm to 26-year-old Mr Lee. He was found not guilty by a jury at Exeter Crown Court.

During a three-day case, the prosecution alleged Mr Lee had been carrying a knife earlier in the confrontation, but had been disarmed by other guests and posed no danger when he was stabbed in the back.

They say McGrane was seen on CCTV putting a knife into his waistband as he left the supported housing at Alexandra House in Imperial Road, Exmouth, after the incident in March.

Mr Lee did not realise he had been stabbed, but suffered a punctured lung and needed an emergency operation after collapsing at the scene.

McGrane told Exeter Crown Court there was ill-feeling between him and Lee because the other man had boasted incorrectly that he had beaten him up.

He said on the night of the stabbing, they met by chance at the friend’s flat and there had been an argument between them.

He insisted Mr Lee was carrying a knife and advancing towards him when he picked up a knife from a plate left on the television and used it to stab the other man.

He said: “Frank had a knife in his hand which was cocked behind him. He was trying to come toward me when I stabbed him. I thought he was going to stab me or my friend.

“After I stabbed him, he fell forward because of his momentum and stumbled and dropped the knife. The knife I had was still in my hand. I did not deliver any more blows. I was not trying to attack him.

“When I stabbed him, I did not know what to do. I was scared.”

McGrane said he then left with the knife in his waistband and walked to the nearby harbour, where he threw the weapon in the sea. He spent the night at a friend’s house before handing himself to the police the next day.

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