Teen who stabbed lawyer to death with screwdriver outside Newcastle Greggs jailed

17 December 2019, 13:18 | Updated: 17 December 2019, 14:42

By Kate Buck

A teenager who stabbed a popular lawyer to death with a screwdriver during a "chance encounter" has been jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of 15 years.

Ewan Ireland was just 17 when he attacked 52-year-old Peter Duncan at the entrance to Newcastle's Eldon Square shopping centre in August.

The pair had brushed past each other when Ireland pulled out a screwdriver he shoplifted moments before and stabbed the devoted father once in the heart.

Mr Duncan, an in-house lawyer for an international maritime firm, walked a few yards away before collapsing outside a Greggs.

Mr Duncan was a popular lawyer in the city
Mr Duncan was a popular lawyer in the city. Picture: PA

Ireland admitted murder at a previous hearing and was sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court on Tuesday.

The media was able to publish his identity once he turned 18 in October.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Duncan's widow Maria said: "The person who did this had convictions.

"Nothing stopped him. He continued and he murdered my husband.

The screwdriver used to kill Peter Duncan
The screwdriver used to kill Peter Duncan. Picture: Northumbria Police

"Please do not allow him to devastate any more families. He is a danger to all of us."

The court heard Mr Duncan's 15-year-old son was in the city centre that evening for a cinema trip and saw the cordoned off area without realising his much-loved father had been attacked.

In a victim statement he said: "At the time he (Ireland) had been released under investigation in relation to another incident in which a weapon was used.

"I am angry he was out free, and cannot understand why he was not locked up.

Ewan Ireland's police mugshot
Ewan Ireland's police mugshot. Picture: Northumbria Police

"If he had been we would still have my dad to this day."

Caroline Goodwin QC, defending, said Ireland "had spoken of his absolute remorse and devastation at the act he occasioned which was needless and senseless and took away from the family their father".

After the killing, Northumbria Police said the attack was an unprovoked "chance encounter".

The day after the murder, Mr Duncan's family said: "Peter was a kind and caring man who was always first to help other.

Ewan Ireland with the murder weapon
Ewan Ireland with the murder weapon. Picture: Northumbria Police

"He was a devoted father, husband, son, brother, uncle and friend and loved by all who knew him. His death will leave such a huge hole in our lives and he'll be deeply missed by us all.

"Words can't quite describe what life will be like without him.

"He had so much of his life left to live and he'll be in our hearts and thoughts every day.

After Ireland pleaded guilty, it emerged that he was a serial offender who continued to commit violent crimes despite being on bail.

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