BREAKING NEWS: Thurnscoe killer Gary McKeown gets six years.

Stabbing victim Philip Alan Smith.

KILLER Gary McKeown has been jailed for six years after admitting he stabbed a 36-year old Thurnscoe man to death with a kitchen knife.

Gary McKeown, 37, of Church Street, Thurnscoe, killed Philip Alan Smith in self defence, he claimed, on January 28 this year.

Thurnscoe killer Gary McKeown.

A murder trial opened at Sheffield Crown Court on Monday but was halted after McKeown’s plea to the lesser offence of manslaughter was accepted on Wednesday.

McKeown’s 166 days on remand will count towards the sentence handed to him today.

The court heard earlier this week how Smith, of Stotfold Drive, Thurnscoe, had been slashed viciously across his face, several times as he lay dying in a family row over a girl.

The fatal stabbing occurred after an argument intensified between Philip’s younger brother, Ben Smith, and McKeown’s nephew, also called Gary McKeown, the court was told.

Rodney Jameson QC, prosecuting, said McKeown had punctured Philip’s left lung four times and cut in to his ribs, before attacking his face. The injured man staggered outside to collapse on the pavement of Church Street. He died from a massive blood loss.

McKeown admitted attacking Philip during a confrontation at his house. Philip and Ben had gone to Church Street armed with cricket and baseball bats after McKeown bit Ben over his right eye during a previous scrap.

Shaun Smith, QC, defending, said the fight had been about drug dealing and told Ben Smith he had gone to see McKeown “to sort him out because he was buying his drugs from someone else.” Ben Smith denied dealing drugs.

Earlier this year Philip Smith’s 33-year old partner appealed in the Times for an end to the rumours and threats that were rife in the village and on social media sites following Philip’s death.

Scores of villagers attended his funeral, processing through the village en masse to St Helen’s Church, Thurnscoe, then to a wake at the Ship WMC.

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