A Kidsgrove man has been found guilty of the murder of his former girlfriend.
Thomas Dalton, aged 19, of Attwood Street, Kidsgrove, has been on trial for the murder of Samantha Laney at Stafford Crown Court.
Dalton had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Samantha and attempted murder of her father Stephen.
But he was today found guilty of the murder of Samantha. He was found not guilty of the attempted murder of Mr Laney.
Dalton will be sentenced at Stafford Crown Court this afternoon, Thursday.
At approximately 5.30pm on Tuesday 21 February police were called to an address in Kentmere Place, Clayton, following a report that Samantha had been stabbed.
The 19-year-old had recently returned to her father’s home having split up with Dalton and had moved out of the Kidsgrove flat they shared.
The court heard that Dalton had travelled from Kidsgrove to Clayton on a pedal cycle, which has never been found, armed with a knife.
When Samantha returned to the Clayton address with her father and a friend, Dalton burst into the property and fatally stabbed her. He then fled the scene.
Despite the best efforts of emergency services staff, Samantha was pronounced dead at the scene. A Home Office post-mortem examination revealed the cause of death was a single stab wound.
Dalton was arrested and detained by officers within an hour of committing the offence and subsequently charged.
An inquiry into the incident was carried out by detectives from the force’s Major Investigations Department and Samantha’s family continue to receive support from specially-trained officers.
Detective Inspector Glyn Pattinson, who led the inquiry, said: “Our investigation proved this was a premeditated crime. Dalton travelled to Clayton with the intention of causing serious injury to his former partner.
“What followed was the fatal stabbing of Samantha in front of people who were powerless to stop him.
“During a series of interviews that followed his arrest Dalton chose to make ‘no comment’ in relation to the questions put to him and he has shown no remorse for the crime he committed.
“I hope today’s conviction goes someway to helping Samantha’s family move forward and we will continue to offer any support they need.”
The family of Samantha have issued the following statement:
“We welcome today’s guilty verdict and the right verdict has been reached. We hope the sentence will reflect the severity of the crime.
“But no prison sentence will ever be enough to compensate the deep loss we all feel.
“Samantha was a wonderful daughter and sister with her whole life ahead of her. She was a joy to be around and always had time for her family and friends.
“Samantha was a ray of sunshine in our lives. Thomas Dalton has extinguished that light and taken away our precious Samantha. She will always be missed.”
Chief Inspector Neil Hulme, commander of Newcastle Borough Local Policing Team (LPT), said: “This incident not only impacted on Samantha’s family and friends, but also the local community.
“The manner in which Samantha lost her life was tragic and our thoughts remain with her family and friends at this difficult time.
“Crimes such as this are rare, but when they do occur we are committed to carrying out a detailed investigation and bringing those responsible to justice.”
A mandatory referral was made to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) following previous police contact with the victim.
The IPCC asked Staffordshire Police to carry out a supervised investigation, which is ongoing.