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'I've done him' said man after stabbing his nephew

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: September 20, 2012

  • MURDER CHARGE; Ray Dupree.

  • DIED AT PARTY: Ryan King.

  • SNURRIDGE HOUSE: The home at Aller Cross, South Molton, where Ryan King died. @Picture: Mike Southon. To order this photograph call 0844 4060 269 and quote Ref: BNMS20110821B-011_C

A YOUNG man died when his bad-tempered great uncle stabbed him in the neck with a wine glass, a jury has been told.

Ryan King bled to death at a party near South Molton after an argument turned violent.

A jury at Exeter Crown Court heard that Ryan's great uncle Ray Dupree said: "I've done him," after striking the fatal blow.

The court was told Dupree seemed proud of his actions following the incident last year.

Ryan suffered fatal injuries while at his pregnant mother's 40th birthday party at Snurridge House near South Molton in August 2011.

Jurors heard Ryan had tried to stop his great-uncle from bullying a group of 13 and 14-year-old girls.

Dupree is then said to have attacked him with a glass which severed his jugular.

Jurors were shown the glass, a wine flute that had shattered into a point and was still covered in his blood.

In the courtroom members of Ryan's family wept while the court heard the distressing 999 call made after he was injured.

People can be heard screaming in the background while others try to save Ryan's life.

Dupree, 68, sat in the dock at the back of the court mostly looking expressionless while three witnesses gave evidence against him.

He denies murder.

Jurors were told about 30 people had attended the party at the luxury grade two listed manor owned by Bernadette and Ron Soton, Ryan's grandparents.

Ryan had been picked up from South Molton earlier in the evening by his best friend, Adam Thorne, and Adam's cousin, Shane Thorne .

Adam and Shane both told the court that up until the incident that led to Ryan's death the party had been going well.

Then at around 2.30am people began to tire.

Many went to bed leaving six adults and a group of 13 and 14-year-old girls in the dining room of the house.

Shane told the court: "There was a bit of commotion about the music being turned off or left on.

"The girls and me and Ryan wanted to keep the music on and have a bit of a dance and then go off to bed."

But the jury heard Dupree was unhappy and ordered one girl to go to bed, telling her: "Have some respect for your elders."

Another witness at the party was Sarah Campbell, a friend of Ryan's mother, who saw the build up to the tragedy

She told the court she was helping to tidy up after the party had died down when the argument between Dupree and the young girl began.

She said Dupree had already shouted at one girl about breaking some glasses.

She said: "He was getting quite uptight and he referred to one of the girls as a gobby cow.

"I said they were only kids. They were giggly and playing a bit of music and singing and messing around.

"He went over to one of the girls and said she should be in bed. He ordered her to go to bed in a stern manner. She said no."

Shane told the court: "He grabbed her arm and was almost shouting. The way he was saying it was scaring her.

"Ryan said to Ray 'calm down you shouldn't talk to her like that she's just a young girl.' He was not saying it in an angry way.

"He was just saying lay off she's just a young girl. He was trying to help her really.

"Ray said something along the lines of 'have some respect for your elders'."

Mrs Campbell said she took Dupree's arm to calm him down but he flung her out of the way.

"Ryan stepped forward and asked Ray if he was picking on his own family now.

"He had his hands up in a gesture of submission and was not aggressive at all and was calming the situation down.

"They moved into the kitchen and I was not paying attention when I heard a slapping noise and saw Ryan with people around him.

"He had been knocked back and was sat on the floor holding the left side of his face and neck.

"It was a comment he (Dupree) made before I saw Ryan that stuck in my mind. It was something that surprised me and shocked me to hear.

"He said 'you're down now.' It was enough to shock me into thinking that was not a nice thing to hear.

"It was almost like he was proud he had done it. I don't know how he meant it but that was how I saw it. He may have said something like 'I've done him'."

Shane became tearful as he also explained to jurors what he had seen: "Ray turned round with a glass and hit Ryan in the throat.

"He (Ryan) turned around looking for someone to help him. I put my T-shirt round his head to stop the blood. He was standing but he was bending over holding his throat."

Ryan's best friend, Adam, told the court it was the most traumatic thing he had ever seen in his life.

He sobbed as he said: "Ryan held his neck with both of his hands and turned to me and Shane. He didn't say anything but he gave me a look as if to say 'I am in trouble'."

The court was then played a recording of the 999 call which was made by Adam.

He could be heard saying that Ryan was bleeding from his mouth and nose and was beginning to choke.

He said: "I need an ambulance here right now. If somebody isn't with him in about 20 minutes he is going to be dead. His eyes are looking very heavy. He is absolutely covered in blood."

Despite the efforts of paramedics Ryan was bleeding heavily and later died as a result of his injuries.

Simon Laws, for the prosecution, told the jury that Ryan had been murdered by his great-uncle as a result of his bad temper and his pride.

He added that the relationship between Ryan and Dupree had been good prior to the incident and that there was no justification for Dupree's outbreak.

He said: "His great-uncle killed him at a party by lashing out at him with a glass. The glass shattered and it severed Mr King's jugular vein and he died as a result.

"There was simply no reason for Mr Dupree to have used any force at all. It follows that Mr King lost his life quite needlessly. His death was a product of the defendant's bad temper and pride.

"He grossly over-reacted to a trivial dispute and he responded with violence.

"Mr Dupree intended in that moment to cause real serious harm to Ryan King. What else can a man mean if he strikes another with a glass in that way?"

The trial is expected to last all week.

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