A boastful killer has been jailed for life for stabbing his great nephew to death with a champagne glass at a party in a country mansion in North Devon.
Ex-boxer Raymond Dupree, 68, lashed out at 20-year-old Ryan King’s throat with the heavy crystal glass because he defied him by stepping in to stop him bullying a group of 13 and 14-year-old girls.
Dupree is the brother of Bernadette Soton, the owner of the stately home, Snurridge House, in South Molton where the incident took place in August 2011.
The house is normally rented out for £1,000 a weekend to wealthy bankers or hedge fund managers for posh parties but was being used by the owner to host a party for her own family.
The party was to mark the 40th birthday of Lisa Wilson, who is the owner’s daughter and Ryan’s mother and more than 30 guests enjoyed a seven hour celebration before the atmosphere turned nasty.
Dupree lost his temper with a group of teenaged girls and Ryan intervened as a peacemaker when he grabbed one 13-year-old by the arm and ordered her to go to bed.
Dupree smashed the glass into Ryan’s neck and as he lay dying on the floor with blood gushing from his neck he stood over him and bragged: ‘I’ve done him’.
Ryan suffered an inch deep, two inch long gash and died from loss of blood. Dupree suffered a cut hand from the breaking glass.
Dupree fled and when he was arrested in a nearby country lane told police: “It was just a family fall out. I think I’ve got more of a cut than he has.”
He only realised he had killed Ryan when he was in hospital to be treated for his own cut and heard Ryan’s mother screaming ‘No, no, not my baby. It’s not happening, it’s not happening’ in a neighbouring room when police broke the news to her.
He put his head in his hands and said: “Oh for f***’s sake. I haven’t killed the bugger have I? I did not mean to do that. I didn’t mean to hurt him. I’m so sorry. Do you think it’s fatal? My nephew, my niece, oh f***ing hell.”
Former boxer Dupree, of Bishops Nympton, near South Molton, denied murdering Ryan King at the party.
He said he punched him in self-defence without realising he had the glass in his hand but the jury took just 80 minutes to reject his story.
At Exeter Crown Court today, he was jailed for life for murder with a minimum term of 13 years by Judge Mr Justice Evans who told him: “You killed your young great nephew at a family party arranged to celebrate the 40th birthday of his mother.
“You killed him in a fit of temper and annoyance because you were not being shown the respect and deference you thought you deserved; first by a young girl of 13 and second by Ryan when he tried to intervene to calm the situation and to calm you down.
“You became offensive, obscene and violent. What you did was done in front of the people still at the party including some young girls.
“You thrust a wine glass into Ryan’s neck, cutting his jugular vein. In reality, he bled to death on the floor of his grandmother’s kitchen.
“The fact that you killed him in front of the people there and particularly the young girls, is in my judgment an aggravating feature of this case.
“Your previous convictions reflect the kind of conduct you indulged in that night; bad temper, bullying, and the use of violence. They too aggravate your position.
“There are mitigating features. I accept that you did not intend to kill Ryan but you did intend to cause him really serious harm. I accept this was a killing carried out in temper and annoyance with no premeditation beyond the picking up and thrusting of the glass.
“I bear in mind you are 68. However, there is only one sentence I can pass and it may well be you will never be released and will die in custody.”
Following the verdict, Detective Inspector Dave Thorne, Senior Investigating Officer, said: "Justice has prevailed in this tragic case and Raymond Dupree has been convicted of murder.
"It was a needless attack which was unprovoked and undeserved with fatal consequences to Ryan King, a young man with his whole life ahead of him.
"Ryan was part of an extensive but close knit family with many good friends and was liked by all. The trauma and loss that family and friends have experienced is beyond comprehension and although a conviction has been achieved, people will live with this loss for the rest of their lives.
"I would like to thank the prosecution team for their professionalism and the family for their calmness and resilience through this traumatic process.”