Drug addict gets life term for killing disabled man at his Hull home

Duncan Heaton
Duncan Heaton
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A drug addict who stabbed a “vulnerable” disabled man to death in his home and stole his possessions to feed his addiction has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Keith Opray, 51, was found with blood-stained pillow over his face suggesting his killer Duncan Heaton tried to suffocate him before stabbing him.

Sentencing Heaton to serve a minimum of 21 years and six months, Judge Michael Mettyear said Mr Opray, who lived alone in Wareham Close, Bransholme, Hull, would have been unable to “meaningfully” defend himself against the “vicious” attack in January, adding: “There is evidence that he bravely tried.”

There were gasps as Hull Crown Court heard he was stabbed 43 times to his head, neck, chest, abdomen and back, with two wounds severing the jugular vein. A still unexplained colourless liquid had been poured over his face.

After the murder, Heaton, who had 71 previous convictions, mainly for house burglary, went to a friend’s home in a blood-stained jacket and with slash marks to his hand which he said were caused by a tin opener.

He had Mr Opray’s property in a black bag and blood-stained £20 notes which they both used to buy heroin.

Mr Opray had won £100 at bingo the day before the fatal attack and Heaton later paid off another £40 he owed and tried to sell Mr Opray’s mobile phone.

Heaton - who pleaded guilty to murder and theft ahead of a trial - confessed to a fellow inmate to smothering Mr Opray to stop his screams and drew a map showing where he had hidden the blade of the knife he had used, bank cards and the key to Mr Opray’s house. Judge Mettyear said Heaton had been desperately short of money and wanted more drugs, adding: “It is clear that Mr Opray was much loved and is sorely missed.

“Understandably, the family are finding it very hard to comprehend why such tragic consequences should be inflected on such a peaceful and contented man.”