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Face of the man who killed Heather Dyer
11:23am Wednesday 10th October 2012 in News
A MAN who was convicted of the manslaughter of a woman neighbour after being cleared of her murder will be sentenced next week.
A jury at Liverpool Crown Court took more than 20 hours to find Paul Lyon not guilty of murdering 22-year-old Heather Dyer, who was stabbed to death.
Instead they found the 46-year-old guilty of her manslaughter.
They also cleared him of attempting to murder 25-year-old William Taylor, who was in a group of young people with Miss Dyer, who was also stabbed and suffered life-threatening injuries.
The jury of four men and seven women, who convicted him of manslaughter by ten to one, found Lyon guilty of wounding Mr Taylor.
The convicted killer, who suffers from severe epilepsy, is being held at Ashworth Special Hospital in Maghull where he has been on remand since January after suffering a breakdown.
He will return to court on Monday (October 15) to learn his sentence.
The ruling followed a trial that heard that Lyon stabbed Miss Dyer three times with a fish filleting knife allegedly because he was angered by her repeated noisy anti-social behaviour.
Prosecutors alleged the knifing happened in the early hours of Saturday, July 23, 2011, about 40 minutes after Lyon told another neighbour he was going to kill Miss Dyer if she did not stop playing music which was keeping him awake.
She had been due to be evicted from her flat above his home in Chapel Street, St Helens, three days later following repeated complaints by Lyon about her noisy conduct.
Lyon had denied murder, insisting that he had acted in self defence and had forgotten he was armed when he lashed out.
Giving evidence, he claimed that he swung the fish filleting knife without thinking after he was knocked to the ground by one of the group.
Lyon, 46, said he was standing outside the flat to get “fresh air” when the confrontation happened at about 2.40am.
He said he found the knife on his electricity meter cupboard after he had used it for gardening that day.
He claimed to be holding it when one of Miss Dyers’ friends accused him of getting Miss Dyer evicted for making excessive noise.
Lyon told the court he became scared after being knocked to the ground: “(I) started swinging my arms, forgetting I had the knife in my hands. I was in a panic.”
He admitted inflicted the wounds but denied that he had intended using the knife to injure anyone.
Asked what he was thinking as he awaited his police interview he said: “I felt very scared and disgusted in myself.”
During the trial, the jury also heard from Mr Taylor, 25, who suffered life threatening injuries, including laceration to his liver and puncture wounds to his intestines He told the court that he had gone out that night to celebrate his brother Andrew’s birthday. Along the way, they met other young people, including Miss Dyer, whom he did not know.
It was decided the group would go to her upstairs flat and then onto Mr Taylor's home to continue partying.
After listening to music they went outside to wait for taxis but while there he saw Lyon arguing with Miss Dyer.
Mr Taylor said: "It escalated really quickly after that, it was like he was attempting to throw punches at her and I went over to try and calm him down saying: 'we're going in a minute'.
“It appeared that the man, Lyon, was going to attack her and two of the group also went to intervene and it turned into a scuffle.
"He went towards her again and I jumped into the middle and he grabbed hold of me and I felt two punches. “ But he had actually been stabbed.
He admitted that after he had realised he had been stabbed, he was in shock and kicked Lyon, who was by then on the ground, in the face.