A JUDGE said the people of St Helens will have been “sickened” by the brutal stabbing of Lee Andrew as he jailed the murderer who had boasted he was going to do the town proud.

Thomas Brown, 42, was convicted unanimously by a jury on Monday at Liverpool Crown Court of murdering the 33-year-old as his claim of acting in self-defence was dismissed.

Judge Mr Justice Martin Spencer QC immediately gave Brown a mandatory life sentence and told him he must serve at least 18 years in prison before being eligible for parole.

The judge said he considered Mr Andrew’s murder to be “premeditated and unprovoked” and branded Brown’s claims of what happened as “a tissue of lies”.

The attack happened at Brown's YMCA flat in North Road, St Helens on the night of Monday, August 2, 2021, in which Mr Andrew was stabbed in the neck.

He suffered a 7cm deep wound and it was said “he didn’t stand much of a chance”.

Members of Mr Andrew's family wept in the public gallery during Monday's proceedings as the jury returned to deliver their verdict.

St Helens Star: Lee AndrewLee Andrew

During the week-long trial, David McLachlan QC, prosecuting, told the jury that Mr Andrew had been “stabbed in the jugular vein in his neck” in a bedroom moments after Mr Andrew had allowed Brown into his own flat at the YMCA on North Road, St Helens.

He suffered a 7cm deep wound and it was said “he didn’t stand much of a chance”.

The court heard that Mr Andrew and the defendant had known each other through involvement in “the drug scene in St Helens”.

READ > Police: Jury saw through murderer's tissue of lies after 'horrendous attack'

CCTV footage from the outside of the flat at the YMCA was played showing Brown being allowed in and a light going on in the kitchen for eight seconds prior to Mr Andrew’s stabbing.

The prosecution said this was Brown getting the knives, one a large kitchen knife used to kill Mr Andrew, from a drawer which was open when police officers arrived.

Around a minute and a half after Brown had entered the flat, Mr Andrew was seen running out after he had been stabbed and headed towards the YMCA reception for help.

In a harrowing clip, Mr Andrew could be heard banging on the YMCA reception door shouting for help, screaming “I’m dying”.

A woman, who called 999, saw Mr Andrew coming out of the flat, and seconds later Brown was seen walking “nonchalantly” out of the same door and walked up North Road in the other direction.

It was said he was “walking away as if nothing had happened and that surprised her as he had blood all over his hands”.

Mr McLachlan said “a voice could be heard” during the 999 call saying “Tommy Brown done it”.

St Helens Star: The trial was heard at Liverpool Crown CourtThe trial was heard at Liverpool Crown Court

The court was told that earlier that day, Brown and Mr Andrew had met outside the latter's home at the Salvation Army hostel in Phoenix Brow.

Then both men went separately to Brown’s flat at about 7pm and Brown went to meet a friend, James Allen.

It was said Mr Allen had also been “Lee Andrew's friend, they met each other taking drugs together” and that Brown “would also score drugs with him”.

They “got their drugs” and went back to Mr Allen’s house and then Brown had said to him “he had something to do, he had somewhere to be”.

Mr McLachlan said it occurred to James Allen that Brown was "acting slightly unusually” and then “Brown hugged him, he’d never done that before and Brown said ‘he was going to do something to make St Helens proud’”.

After being arrested, Brown had told police officers that Mr Andrew had bullied and intimidated him for months and was overheard to say, “the beast got dealt with and it was self-defence”.

However, after being sent out on Monday morning the jury took less than two hours to return with a unanimous guilty verdict.

There were cheers in the public gallery as the verdict was announced to the court.

St Helens Star: Guilty of murder: Thomas BrownGuilty of murder: Thomas Brown

Judge Mr Justice Martin Spencer QC said to Brown, who showed no emotion in the dock: “You made this remark that you were ‘going to do something to make St Helens proud’.

“Given what happened a short time later, I have no doubt that you had murder on your mind and by their verdict I have no doubt this was the view of the jury.”

He added “the short amount of time that elapsed between you going in (to the YMCA flat) and Lee Andrew coming out leads me to the conclusion” that Brown’s account of “what happened inside the flat was a tissue of lies".

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He said: “I find both the attack and murder were premeditated and unprovoked.”

Judge Spencer added: “You had the temerity in your evidence to suggest more could have been done for Lee Andrew when you yourself did nothing.

“Your demeanour and actions were wholly consistent with this being a premeditated murder.”

He added: “I’m sure the citizens of St Helens were sickened when they heard what happened in St Helens that night.”