Man murdered love rival in jealous rage

Must archive'Preston Crown Court in Preston city centre / view
Must archive'Preston Crown Court in Preston city centre / view

A homeless man has been convicted of murder after stabbing another rough sleeper with a Stanley knife in a jealous rage about a girl.

Bernard McSorley, 53, claimed he was acting in self defence when he ran at Paul McDonagh and stabbed him in the back in Lancaster city centre.

Mr McDonagh, who had only been sleeping rough for a matter of weeks, died five days after the attack from internal injuries.

Those who knew him described him as a “genuine, soft hearted person.”

Following the attack, which took place in broad daylight on the steps close to TK Maxx in Lancaster, Mr McDonagh was treated at Lancaster Royal Infirmary and told to see his GP the following week.

His wound was stitched but he refused to stay in the hospital for further assessment and did not report his attacker to the police.

After hearing evidence from eye witnesses and McSorley himself, the jury at Preston Crown Court took just one hour and 25 minutes to dismiss the killer’s account that he was acting in self defence.

In the days that followed the attack he told several people he had stabbed Mr McDonagh because “he was making a c*** of me.”

He made no comment during his police interview but from the witness box told the jury he bought a knife from a pound shop when he heard Mr McDonagh was looking for him and he should “watch his back”.

But witnesses described seeing McSorley remove his jacket and top and place them on a nearby bench before running at Mr McDonagh, who was sitting on the steps talking to another man.

After a scuffle in which Mr McDonagh managed to restrain his attacker by the wrists, McSorley walked away, picking up his belongings before disposing of the Stanley knife down a drain.

As he walked away he was heard making threats to Mr MccDonagh as he shouted in the street.

Mr McDonagh was last seen bedding down for the night in an open garage by a young woman who lived nearby. She took him food and a hot drink but he was already asleep.

The following morning she discovered his lifelesss body and alerted emergency services. It is understood Mr McDonagh was holding the blade of a Stanley knife in his hand when he was found.

McSorley, who has previously served a prison sentence for attempted murder after attacking an ex partner with an axe, now faces the mandatory life sentence for murder and will be sentenced at Preston Crown Court on Tuesday.