Man who stabbed burglar to death jailed for 19 years as victim’s family cheers in court

A victim’s family cheered as the killer who stabbed a burglar to death in a brutal revenge attack was jailed for 19 years.

Jordan Brophy had two shards of a broken blade left lodged in his skull after a ferocious attack when he and three others tried to steal Karl Townsend’s drugs.

Following the attempted “smash and grab”, Jordan consequently died aged 31 in October last year.

Yesterday afternoon, Townsend was cleared of his murder by a jury of six men and six women, The Liverpool Echo reported.

He was convicted of manslaughter by a majority of 10 to two and returned to Liverpool Crown Court for sentencing today.

As his sentence was handed down, Jordan’s family cheered while Townsend nodded and looked over to where they were sat in the public gallery.

Judge Andrew Menary handed him 19 years, describing the attack as a “deliberate and armed response to an attempt to steal his drugs”. Townsend must serve two thirds of this term before he is released on licence.

Sentencing, the Honourary Recorder of Liverpool said: “On that night, soon after you had left and while your partner and child were out of the house, the deceased Jordan Brophy and three other accomplices broke into your house. This was plainly a targeted attack – a smash and grab where the burglars were not concerned about making a noise and plainly did not expect to be in the house for very long.

“I have no doubt that they were after your stash of controlled drugs, because I have no doubt that at that time your principal source of income was dealing in class A and B drugs. No other explanation makes any sense.

“What that means is this was not a home invasion with a terrified and unsuspecting householder. As soon as you saw these men on the camera, you knew exactly what they were after.

“What resulted is the sort of violent encounter which so often accompanies this type of criminal activity. You were provoked by Jordan Brophy’s actions, but your response was not in any way justified.

“I also find as fact that Jordan Brophy was not armed with any weapon while in the house, and in particular was not armed with a knife. He did not expect a confrontation that night.

“Equally, I find that none of the burglars had a gun. That is an embellishment invented by you.

“The verdict of the jury means that they could not be sure that when delivering a fatal blow, you intended to kill or cause serious harm. But on any view, the level of unlawful violence used by you was shocking.

“In a matter of seconds and without any delay, after entering the property you stabbed Jordan Brophy multiple time to the head, face and arms. Mr Brophy attempted to protect himself, but stood no chance.

“He tried to flee the scene but was caught again by you in the street, where you used the remains of the blade to stab him repeatedly in the neck. The notion that you were at any stage acting in reasonable self-defence is frankly absurd.

“Jordan Brophy was no angel. But whatever he was doing on the night, he did not deserve to die as he did.

“He was a loved and cherished son, brother, partner and uncle. Their lives have been damaged irreparably.

“This is an especially bad case of manslaughter. Mr Brophy was killed in the course of a serious of unlawful attacks which must have involved an intention by you to case harm falling just short of grievous bodily harm.

“You express remorse for what you did and the loss of life involved. I hope that is genuine.”

The trial – which opened on what would have been Mr Brophy’s 32nd birthday last month – previously heard Townsend had left his home for his mum’s house in his Mercedes GLA shortly after 6.25pm on October 29 2021.

The property was left empty at that time, with Townsend’s girlfriend Amelia Rigby having gone out to walk the dog with the couple’s three-year-old child.

Within minutes, Mr Brophy arrived in a Mercedes A-Class in a convoy of three vehicles. He and two other accomplices then smashed through a rear door in order to gain entry as a getaway driver lay in wait.

Townsend became aware of the burglary after his Ring doorbell sent a notification to his phone, and he and his 23-year-old half-brother Jamie Cunningham “hurriedly made their way to the scene” armed with knives.

Mr Brophy suffered “multiple stab wounds” inside, some of which “would almost certainly have proved fatal on their own”.

He was knifed in the outer edge of his left eye, with the weapon severing his right optic nerve and piercing the skull on both sides.

The blade was “wielded with such force” that it snapped, with a portion of the knife remaining lodged in his brain.

Mr Brophy was then stabbed again “a number of times” before another blow entered just above the right eyebrow, leaving a further section of the knife behind. Townsend is then said to have “attempted to run him over in a car”, but missed and crashed into a garden wall.

The prosecution said the burglar was then pinned against a Fiat 500 and stabbed in the neck three times with the “remnant” of the same knife. An ultimately fatal blow severed his jugular vein, causing “immediate and catastrophic blood loss”.

Cunningham, of Penmann Crescent, had previously been on trial accused of possession of a bladed article but later admitted this charge. He was cleared of murder during an earlier trial, during which the jury failed to reach a verdict regarding the same charge on Townsend.

Cunningham was spared jail over the “considerable time” he spent in custody.

Judge Menary said: “But for the fact he spent a considerable time in custody on remand, he would be going to prison today.”

Judge Menary says of Cunningham: “You’re young, I’ve no doubt you were led into this by your older brother.”

He was handed a two-year community order with a 10-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

Both were told to pay victim surcharges.