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Vincent Sparkes sentenced to prison for killing man in argument

image source, Wiltshire Police

image caption, Vincent Sparkes

  • Author, Leigh Boobyer
  • Role, BBC News, West of England

A 44-year-old man has been jailed for life after killing a man during an argument.

Vincent Sparkes, of Station Road in Swindon, headbutted and then stabbed Neil Bambrick, 41, in Broad Street, Swindon, in July.

Sparkes was found guilty at Bristol Crown Court on Monday and at the same hearing was jailed for life and ordered to spend at least 17-and-a-half years in prison.

The victim’s family said following the verdict that Mr Bambrick’s death had “left a big hole in our hearts”.

image source, Wiltshire Police

image caption, Neil Bambrick’s family said “justice has been served” in a tribute

Inspector Phil Walker of Wiltshire Police said: “Neil would still be alive if Sparkes didn’t have a knife that day.”

At around 20:55 BST on July 11, Sparkes headbutted Mr Bambrick, then pulled out a knife and stabbed him in the chest during an argument.

Mr Bambrick, who was not carrying a weapon, was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries and died in the early hours of the following morning.

In his interview with police, Sparkes said he used the knife “in the heat of the moment”, the senior investigating officer said.

“Happy and loving character”

Bambrick’s family said it would “never be forgotten” and added they were “so happy we got the result we wanted”.

“Justice was done.

“Neil was sadly taken from us in a knife crime – he has left a huge hole in our hearts.

“If you knew Neil, he was such a happy, friendly, loving character who would do anything for anyone.

“Nothing was a problem, if they could help you they would.”

After sentencing Det Ch Insp Walker said: “Unfortunately, this split-second decision cost Neil his life and proves that if Sparkes had not made the decision to carry the knife in the first place, this argument would not have never led to Neil’s death.

“Put simply, Neil would still be alive if Sparkes didn’t have a knife that day.”

The news comes during a week-long gun amnesty to help reduce knife crime.

Previously, the first permanent teaching box outside of Swindon was installed at the Wiltshire Football Association in Devizes.