A Warwick tree surgeon lost his life when he was stabbed at least four times by an angry young man who had armed himself with a knife following a heated row with his father.
Victim Scott Bosley had clashed with killer Harry Stone earlier that evening after trying to stop him smashing up his father’s mobility scooter outside a pub where Stone and his father had argued.
Stone (21) who lived in Canada with his mother, but was staying at an address in Sutherland Close, Warwick, at the time, pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to Mr Bosley’s murder.
Jailing him for life, Judge Andrew Lockhart QC ordered that he should serve a minimum of 18 years before the Parole Board can first consider whether it is safe for him to be released.
Prosecutor Peter Grieves-Smith said that prior to Boxing Day last year, Stone and Mr Bosley, known to everyone including his heartbroken partner as Boz, had never met.
“But that day both were in the Woodloes Tavern in Warwick and their paths crossed with fatal consequences.”
Stone had lived in Canada with his mother since he was 13, but they had returned to this country in December to see his father Nicholas who was seriously ill in hospital.
But his condition improved and he was discharged, and on Boxing Day he and Stone, who was later found to be three times the legal alcohol limit for driving, were in the pub.
Stone began arguing volubly with his father, taking him to task over what he considered to be his failings, and then stormed outside and began damaging his father’s mobility scooter.
Mr Bosley was there to watch a football match on TV, but was outside on the car park when Stone damaged the scooter.
He began to pick up the broken pieces and spoke to Stone, who called his father a ‘wife-beater’ before going back inside, only to come back out a few minutes later to cause more damage.
Mr Bosley again picked up broken pieces of the scooter before both of them went back inside.
Stone went back out once again and almost immediately began causing more damage, and when Mr Bosley tried to stop him, there was some pushing and shoving before 6ft3 Mr Bosley punched Stone, who fell to the ground.
He got up and began throwing punches at Mr Bosley who pushed him away and then punched him again.
Again Stone, who had a split lip, came back at Mr Bosley, goading him, despite being told a number of times to stay away, and spat blood at him.
Mr Bosley then went back into the pub where he apologised to Nicholas Stone for having punched his son.
Mr Grieves-Smith commented: “The only reason trouble had happened was because the defendant chose to damage his father’s mobility scooter, and we say there can be no criticism on the actions of Scott Bosley.”
Meanwhile Stone had left, with what Mr Grieves-Smith said was ‘a thirst for revenge,’ and had gone to his father’s home where he smashed the television, overturned furniture and threw food and drink onto the drive.
On the way he had called his sister and told her he had been hit by one of his father’s friends, and that he was going to get a knife and kill his father.
“He got a knife and went out, the prosecution say intending to use it, and the knife he chose had a blade 18cm long and 2.5cm at its widest.”
Having left the house, he spoke on the phone to his brother Jack who tried to calm him down.
As they talked, Jack heard Stone saying: “What do you want? F*** off, you need to f*** off.” He then heard a muffled sound before Stone came back on the line and told him: “I’ve just stabbed someone.”
Jack immediately called 999 – as did Stone who said he was giving him CPR and claimed to the operator: “He attacked me, so I stabbed him because he’d already attacked me.”
The police and an ambulance arrived, and found Mr Bosley lying between two cars, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Stone, who came back, admitted he had stabbed him and pointed to a hedge where he said he had thrown the knife, adding: “I’m going to prison, I’m never going back to Canada.”
There had been five thrusts with the knife, one of them just below Mr Bosley’s left shoulder blade, going 17cm deep into his heart causing an injury which would have been ‘rapidly fatal.’
And Mr Grieves-Smith commented: “While he dialled 999 and called for assistance and waited at the scene, he used that time to concoct an entirely false account.”
He added that in a statement Boz’s father Clifford Bosley says: “I can’t put into words how you Harry Stone have caused me and my family to feel. I have only one question: Why? You have not only cruelly taken Scott’s life, you have ruined your own.”
Jane Bickerstaff QC, defending, said Stone’s actions had been ‘completely and utterly out of character.’
After she had left his father because of violence, his mother had taken him with her to Canada when he was 13, and he had built a life for himself there, where he was described as being ‘completely opposed to violence, even on the rugby pitch.’
But Stone, who was a carpenter, had a history of mental illness, and had been diagnosed as suffering from depression and bipolar, for which he was prescribed medication.
Miss Bickerstaff said that his medication was interrupted after they came back to Warwick at short notice because his father was not expected to live, and after he ran out he had only been able to get a prescription here three days before the incident.
That night was the first conversation he had alone with his father as an adult, and he had become emotional and upset at his father’s reaction to what he was saying.
Of the actual stabbing, she said that on leaving his father’s house to get a bus to his grandmother’s home, he had armed himself with a knife because he feared for his safety.
He was pacing up and down by the bus stop when he saw Mr Bosley, who had left following a call from his partner Beth Scott to make his way home, and had walked through a gate in a hedge.
Miss Bickerstaff said that, not knowing about the gate, Stone thought he had been hiding and waiting for him, and pulled out the knife as Mr Bosley then crossed the road.
She said they grappled, which was how Stone had come to stab him in the back, rather than having stabbed him from behind.
Jailing Stone, Judge Lockhart told him: “If ever there was a siren call from a family to rid society of the use of knives in terrible crimes like this, then it sounds out loud and clear in this case.
“At your father’s house you took up a knife. It was to be carried from there by you to use as a weapon if necessary, and its use was to have tragic consequences.
“You were out on the streets of Warwick, and I am certain that you had decided if you saw Scott Bosley he would be seriously wounded.
“You did stab him, and not just once. This was a murderous attack of some severity, and in part from the back, and Mr Bosley showed no signs of being able to defend himself.
“The overwhelming likelihood is that injuries which could have led to death must have been contemplated. There was some degree of premeditation.”
Following Stone’s sentencing Detective Sergeant Sean Tonelli from Warwickshire Police said: “This wasn’t a heat of the moment incident. Stone made a deliberate and premeditated decision to go and get a knife.
“In the time it took him to collect the knife and return he could have changed his mind and come to his senses; Scott would still have been alive and Stone wouldn’t be facing a minimum of 18 years in prison.
“When police arrived Stone admitted to killing Scott but he has never said why. Whilst he has pleaded guilty today, Scott’s family are left with unanswered questions.
“This tragic incident is a consequence of Stone carrying a knife. Stone’s decision that night ended in the most terrible circumstances and the impact will be felt by Scott’s family and friends for the rest of their lives.
“Hopefully, this incident will make others think twice about carrying a knife and prevent a similar tragedy.”
Scott’s mother Kathleen Francis paid tribute to her son saying: “Scott was a well-loved person; by his family, partner Beth, and many friends. Not only has this taken Scott’s life but ours too. For all of us who are left behind, it has left a big hole in our lives and this will never be filled.”
Scott’s girlfriend Bethann said: “I have lost my best friend, my soul mate, my future husband, and my future children. My brother has also lost his best friend and a person he treated as his own brother. I hope this never happens to any other family and people show compassion to one another.”
Scott’s father Clifford Bosley said: “Scott was a fantastic son, brother, uncle and partner to Bethann, he was caring and supportive towards his family and his friends. I will only ever have one question for Stone, and that will be ‘why?’ I loved Scott and he loved me, I saw him and spoke to him every day, I miss him so much.
“I will remain heartbroken and totally devastated by what has happened for the rest of my days.”
Scott is also remembered by his sister Hayley, niece Layla and nephew Curtis.