Welwyn Garden City man sentenced to life for murder of dad, aged 31
PUBLISHED: 15:46 11 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:02 11 January 2019
A man has today been found guilty and sentenced to life for the murder of a dad in Welwyn Garden City.
Matthew Fathers, aged 31, of Little Hardings, Welwyn Garden City, earlier pleaded not guilty to murdering 31-year-old Andrew Mason on June 16 last year.
Today, the jury found him guilty of the murder and Judge Michael Kay QC told Fathers he must serve 23 years behind bars before being considered for release by the parole board.
During a 12-day trial, St Albans Crown Court heard how in the early hours of that day, a man called Daryl Daley was visiting a friend at their flat in Moyne House, Ley Walk.
Victim Andrew Mason was also there.
Matthew Fathers was visiting a friend in another flat in the same building.
When he was leaving, Daley, who was known to Fathers, confronted him in the communal hallway, and attempted to rob him.
Andrew and his friend, who were still inside the other flat, heard the commotion and came out to see what was going on.
It was at this moment Fathers lunged at Andrew with a knife, stabbing him twice – once in the groin, and once in the chest.
Fathers and Daley fled the scene separately and Andrew’s wounds sadly proved fatal, despite paramedics being called.
He left behind his father Adrian, his mother Vici, his step-mother Natasha, his daughter, his three younger brothers, his grandparents and many friends.
Fathers and Daley were arrested two days later, on June 18.
Daryl Daley, aged 46, of Moss Green, Welwyn Garden City, has today been found guilty of attempted robbery against Fathers. He is due to be sentenced on January 25.
In a victim impact statement, Andrew’s father Adrian said: “For over 30 years I had the privilege and honour of being Andy’s father but he has been so cruelly taken from us all.
“There are so many things I want to say to him that I will now never get the chance to.
“His beautiful 12-year-old daughter will never see her father again.
“She will no longer have her Daddy there to take care of her and Andy will never get the opportunity to see her grow up, to buy her a car, witness her getting married or hold his own grandchildren.
“Our love for Andy is indescribable and forever ongoing.
“We will never recover from his tragic and senseless death and will carry it with us for the rest of our lives.
“It feels like a life sentence has been imposed on us.
“Our lives have been ripped apart, changed forever and nothing can ever stop the ongoing nightmare we are now living in.
“It will never be right again.”
Detective Inspector Justine Jenkins, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, said: “This was a tragic case because Andrew had no involvement in the dispute between Fathers and Daley, yet he lost his life.
“His 12-year-old daughter is now without a father, and his family have lost a much loved son, brother and uncle.
“I want to pay tribute to Andrew’s family for conducting themselves with great dignity throughout the investigation and trial.
“Fathers chose to carry a knife that day, and because of his actions he has not only deprived a young girl of her dad, but ruined many lives – including his own.”