A drugs dealer who killed his customer over ‘s**t heroin’ has been jailed for 10-and-a-half years.
Lewis Brown, 20, stabbed Lee Butler on October 8 last year in Barton, Oxfordshire.
Mr Butler and his friend Donna Osbourne had met with the 20-year-old to negotiate the exchange of crack cocaine.
They had told Brown they didn’t want any of his ‘s**t heroin’ before the dealer flew into a rage and stabbed Mr Butler.
Brown, who had no previous convictions, was cleared of murder after a four week trial at Oxford Crown Court.
However he was convicted of manslaughter and possession of a bladed article in a public place.
The family of Mr Butler, 39, today expressed their ‘disappointment’ at the sentence.
In a statement, they said: ‘Lewis Brown has ripped our family apart.
‘Our lives will never be the same again, and we have to see our whole family suffering as a result of his actions.
‘We simply cannot understand how someone could take Lee’s life away in a flash of a knife.
‘We are naturally extremely saddened and disappointed that the verdict was one of manslaughter, but no conviction or sentence would have brought Lee back to us.
‘Lee was a beautiful boy whose life was taken away by a person with a knife.
‘It was a futile waste of a life, but we know one day, we shall meet again and share the feelings that there have always been.’
In court, prosecutor Charles Ward-Jackson read out a statement from Mr Butler’s sister, Julie.
She said the death had left a ‘void’ in her life and, while her brother did struggle with drug use, he ‘didn’t deserve to lose his life because of it.’
Julie added: ‘Lee was trying to sort himself out and now he can’t. This opportunity has been cruelly taken away from him.’
Craig, Mr Butler’s younger brother, had the horrible task of identifying Mr Butler in a hospital mortuary.
‘No one should have to go through that to go and see the brother that looked after him lying there,’ he said.
Mr Butler was also his mother’s full-time carer. Since his death, her health had suffered and she had had to leave the home they shared in Barton.
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