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Judge: Paul Lyon's 'moment of madness' cost Heather Dyer her life
A MAN who knifed his neighbour to death in what a judge has described as a “moment of madness” has been given 10 years in prison.
Paul Lyon, who suffers from epilepsy and who subsequently suffered a mental breakdown, sat in the dock at Liverpool Crown Court as he awaited sentence for the manslaughter of Heather Dyer in July 2011.
Lyon had stabbed 22-year-old Heather after a confrontation outside their flats on Chapel Street in the town centre, in the early hours of the morning.
The 46-year-old was also found guilty of wounding William Taylor, 25, who had been in a group of young people with her.
Following a trial Lyon was found guilty by a jury of manslaughter and wounding, but cleared of murder.
He dabbed tears from his eyes as the Recorder of Liverpool, Judge Clement Goldstone QC, passed sentence.
Judge Goldstone said he realised it would be difficult for Heather’s family to accept the jury’s belief that Lyon had lost self control over the way she and her friends treated him over a nine month period.
Addressing Lyon directly, he added: “They have lost a beloved daughter, sister, niece, aunt and granddaughter.
"That’s a loss for which you must bear responsibility and continue to do so for the rest of your life.
“I have no doubt that by the night of July 22, last year, going into the early hours, you felt highly aggravated by the noise from Heather Dyer’s flat, by which you were frequently disturbed, particularly at night.
“It was caused by Heather Dyer and the company she kept and the volume of music she played.”
Just before she died, Heather had been given notice of eviction. But this was not known to Lyon.
Judge Goldstone continued: “The fact that she was to be evicted, although you didn’t know, gave you no comfort whatsoever.”
Referring to Lyon’s “mental frailty”, he said that his frustration led him to behave “in a way as out of character as it is possible to be".
He dismissed claims that Lyon was unaware that he had the knife when he lashed out at Heather and William Taylor: “I think it likely you picked it up when you heard Heather Dyer’s friends begin to leave the flat.
“You deliberately concealed it from them. For all the problems in the past you have never been threatened by the use of violence.
"You had the knife and acted out of all reason and character.
“You should have gone back into the flat, relieved that on that night, you might get a decent night’s sleep. From your 999 calls, it seemed you perceived their presence as a threat, but it couldn’t have amounted to more than that.
“Instead of going in you launched a vicious attack on Heather Dyer.
“The consequences of that moment of madness are self apparent. You knew what you had done. You apologised to William Taylor almost immediately, but you showed no such regret as far as Heather Dyer was concerned. At no stage have you accepted criminal responsibility for your actions.”
Lyon, who was of previous good character was said to suffer from mental health issues and found it “difficult” coping with stress.
Judge Goldstone sentenced him to ten years for the manslaughter of Heather Dyer and two years for the unlawful wounding of William Taylor, minus the 448 days he has spent in prison.
The sentences will run concurrently.