Case: Killed by a complete stranger: Paul Martin
Paul Martin
Michael Bowden
Status: Solved
Categories: Alcohol Related
Case synopsis:

Paul Martin was just waiting for a lift home after a night out with his girlfriend when he was stabbed to death by a complete stranger.

The 25 year-old father-of-two had the misfortune to be standing near a phone box in Greenwich, south London, when Michael Bowden emerged in a terrifying rage.

Bowden demanded: 'What the f*** are you looking at?' before knifing him five times in the back and neck.

The killer was on bail for a racist attack on a shopkeeper four months earlier.

He already had four previous convictions for violence and had been prescribed antidepressants in November 2008 to control his mood swings after the end of a long-term relationship.

His GP, worried about his violent fantasies, referred him to the Maudsley Hospital in south London on March 3, 2009.

'He would find himself looking at strange men and being suspicious of their intentions towards him. He would then black out and become violent,' said psychiatrist Peter Pierzchniak.

'He was concerned he could end up killing someone.'

Even though Bowden confessed to fantasising about killing someone while waiting for his appointment, he was discharged the next day and given an appointment with the outpatient community team.

He had still not been seen when he spent the evening of March 28, 2009, drinking in a local pub and repeatedly trying to contact his new girlfriend.

After failing to get through over a dozen times he made one last unsuccessful attempt to reach her by using a public phone box in Greenwich South Street.

By chance plumber Paul Martin was waiting a few yards away with his girlfriend and two close friends.

During the trial at the Old Bailey, prosecutor Zoe Johnson said: 'Michael Bowden was clearly angry and straight away he approached Alastair and Paul saying something like "what the f*** are you looking at?".'

Mr Martin's girlfriend, Jessica Ryan, tried to get between the two men as the scuffle spilled in to a nearby alleyway, St Alfege's Passage.

Once Bowden had run off, Mr Martin realised blood was coming from his mouth and nose.

Police and ambulance crews arrived at the scene and doctors from the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) performed surgery in the street.

Mr Martin was taken to King's College Hospital but he died from his injuries shortly after 11am on March 29.

He had suffered two fatal wounds, one to the neck and one to the back of the chest.

Bowden was arrested after police traced the call from the telephone box to his girlfriend's mobile phone.

He was found at her home in Lewisham, southeast London, later that day.

Michael Bowden

Violent fantasies: Michael Bowden took his anger out on a stranger

At his trial in April 2010, Bowden admitted stabbing the victim but denied murder on the grounds he was suffering from bipolar disorder.

He was convicted by the jury after only 90 minutes deliberation and jailed for life. Judge Giles Forrester told him he would spend at least 22 years behind bars.

The judge said: 'You were carrying this knife and you used it to deadly effect on a stranger who annoyed you for some trivial perceived slight.

'You had told the psychiatrist that you might end up killing someone. You were concerned about your capacity for violence particularly when drunk.

'You knew the dangers yet you chose to go out on bail with a knife having been drinking. This was in effect a tragedy waiting to happen.'

Judge Forrester added: 'The consequences of your conduct that night cannot be overstated. A woman has lost her loving partner, two young children have lost their father and a mother has lost her devoted son, and the moving impact statements make clear the enormous sense of loss and grief.'

In a statement read to the court, Mr Martin's mother Lydia said: 'No mother or father should have to bury their child.

'The news of the death of our son in such a needless and violent end was absolutely devastating.

'I couldn't believe what I was hearing, I was in a state of disbelief.'

She said the family had taken the difficult decision not to come to court for the trial because they could not bear to hear the details surrounding her son's death.

Mrs Martin said her two-year-old granddaughter, Elle, continues to ask: 'When's daddy coming home?'

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