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Mottingham man found guilty of manslaughter over Boxing Day stabbing

PUBLISHED: 14:53 17 June 2016 | UPDATED: 14:53 17 June 2016

Patrick Mulroe, who died after being stabbed on Boxing Day, 2015

Patrick Mulroe, who died after being stabbed on Boxing Day, 2015

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The man stabbed his neighbour following a dispute over noise

A Mottingham man who stabbed his neighbour to death after an argument on Boxing Day has been found guilty of manslaughter.

Fifty-two-year-old Christopher Fruen, of Luxfield Road, Mottingham was today (June 17) found guilty of the manslaughter of Patrick Mulroe following a trial at the Inner London Crown Court.

The court heard how the stabbing occurred following a verbal dispute between Fruen’s family and thman guie Mulroes over a long-running complaint about noise that had begun three years earlier.

The Mulroes had been celebrating Christmas as a family. At around 1.30 am on Boxing Day morning, their neighbours, including Christopher Fruen, were outside their property saying goodnight to other family members.

A verbal exchange took place between Mr Mulroe’s wife, who was still inside her house, and the Fruen’s over the issue of noise.

Mrs Mulroe stated she had been sworn at and left the property to speak to her neighbours. The dispute continued to escalate and Patrick Mulroe went outside to join his wife.

Witnesses described seeing Christopher Fruen and Mr Mulroe begin to struggle, with Fruen aiming several blows at Mr Mulroe’s body, although it only became clear after the two men had been separated that Mr Mulroe had been stabbed several times.

Police and the London Ambulance Service were called to Luxfield Road at around 2.10am on December 26, and officers found Mr Mulroe inside his house being tending to by his family. He was suffering multiple stab wounds.

Despite desperate efforts to treat his injuries, Mr Mulroe died at the scene at 3.07am.

His family relayed to officers the events that had led to his stabbing, and police entered the Fruens’ address and arrested Christopher Fruen.

Freun claimed he had been acting in self-defence and denied using a knife, but officers found a number of knives being cleaned in the dishwasher.

At the police station he changed his story and admitted he did take a knife outside when confronting Mr Mulroe.

A post-mortem examination held on December 27, 2015 at Greenwich Mortuary revealed Mr Mulroe had received six stab injuries during the assault. He died from a stab wound to the chest.

Detective chief inspector Cliff Lyons, who led the investigation, said: “Christopher Fruen chose to arm himself with a knife and confront Patrick in the street, bringing what on the face of it seems a dispute about a minor noise issue to a brutal conclusion.

“Fruen claimed he acted in self-defence and initially denied using a knife - I am glad the jury have seen through his attempts to deflect responsibility for his actions and found him guilty.

“This was a senseless attack on a man who had been celebrating Christmas with his family around him. The tragic events of that night means Patrick’s family will be denied such celebrations in the coming years. I can only hope Fruen’s conviction can bring some closure to them.”

A date for sentencing is yet to be confirmed.

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