A court heard how a murderer was ‘directed’ to a KFC restaurant in Corby after his girlfriend was approached by a street drinker.
Ashley Palmer, 33 of Moss Walk, Corby, was yesterday afternoon handed a life sentence for murdering Bernard Farrell in an attack in KFC in Oakley Road, Corby.
Palmer was told he must spend 12-and-a-half years in jail before being considered for parole.
The attack happened exactly one year previously to Palmer’s sentencing, on November 3, 2015.
The court heard that at shortly after 7pm, Palmer walked into the restaurant and without warning punched Mr Farrell in the head.
Mr Farrell fell to the floor where Palmer attempted to punch him once more before kicking him in the head.
Mr Farrell suffered serious head injuries and died 10 days later in hospital.
As Palmer walked out of the KFC he also assaulted Mr Farrell’s fiancée.
The court heard that Palmer had never denied killing Mr Farrell, but he admitted manslaughter and denied murder.
However after a trial in Birmingham, he was found guilty of murder.
Judge Mayo told the court that the circumstances building up to the incident started earlier in the day in Corporation Street when Mr Farrell, described in court as a ‘street drinker’, had approached Palmer’s girlfriend.
She claimed he threatened her with a knife, but Judge Mayo said in his opinion there could not be a knife as no weapon was found on Mr Farrell.
Judge Mayo said she did not report the incident to the police, adding that officers could have approached Mr Farrell, spoken to him or even arrested him, in which case he would still be alive.
Judge Mayo added: “You [Palmer] went to KFC because your girlfriend directed you there. She arrived there 50 minutes before you did. She tracked Mr Farrell and his partner into the restaurant.”
The court was told that 82 text messages and four phone calls were exchanged between Palmer and his girlfriend between the incident in Corporation Street and the attack in KFC.
But Palmer’s mobile phone was never found, and the messages were deleted from the girlfriend’s phone.
Judge Mayo said the ‘destruction’ of the phone and deletion of messages were ‘deliberate acts’. He added that his girlfriend was “fortunate” not to find herself “sitting in the dock” alongside Palmer.
Judge Mayo said the attack in the KFC was: “A disgusting explosion of temper” and told Palmer he would receive a life sentence, and must serve 12-and-a-half years in jail before being considered for release.
But he added that release, if it came, would be on licence and any breach of that licence could the killer returned to jail.
Palmer was also sentenced to 14 months - to be served concurrently - for the assault on Mr Farrell’s fiancée, for which he pleaded guilty to actual bodily harm.