A man stabbed his love rival to death minutes after his girlfriend sent him a picture of herself performing a sex act on the other man.
David Saunders, 33, was driven into a ‘jealous rage’ when law student Sarah Bramley sent him a photograph of her and Michael Lawson.
Saunders took a taxi to the street near Miss Bramley’s home in Darlington, County Durham, and lay in wait for Mr. Lawson.
He attacked him with a knife which he used to deliver a single fatal blow, Teesside Crown Court was told.
He had told his ex-girlfriend:
I’m coming over. You’ll see me angry. Keep him there.
Prosecutor Nick Dry said that by the day of the murder, on July 1, 2017, both men had been in ongoing on-and-off sexual relationships with Miss Bramley.
Miss Bramley had been sitting at home at home with Mr. Lawson when she sent her other lover Mr. Saunders the picture in a text.
He became jealous and angry, grabbing a knife and taking a five-minute taxi to her address, where he met Mr. Lawson, 34, outside in the street.
After arguing over their girlfriend, they fell into a scuffle and he stabbed his victim.
On Monday Saunders pleaded guilty to the murder on the basis that he did not take the weapon to the scene, and is facing a trial of the issue in front of a judge only.
Yesterday he told of his anger at being sent the explicit photograph:
I was upset, really upset and angry. I loved her, it was not nice to see that. I felt angry at both of them.
That morning, June 30, Miss Bramley had sent Saunders a text to say she had been sleeping with Michael Lawson.
Miss Bramley and Mr. Lawson pose for a photo while on holiday together in summer last year.
The defendant admitted that in the past he had damaged Mr. Lawson’s car because he had caught him at the home of Miss Bramley, who he had been in a relationship with since November of last year.
He said that he and his ex-girlfriend split up in April partly because she had been sleeping with Michael Lawson.
I saw his car outside her house and went in through the door. He ran out of the back then I heard his car start. I ran out and punched out a window of his car and kicked off his wing mirror.
During the furious text exchange between him and Miss Bramley on the night and early morning of the killing, he threatened Mr. Lawson.
He texted Miss Bramley saying:
You Sket. I’m coming over, I’m going to knock f*** out of him, watch,’ later adding: ‘You’ll see me angry. Keep him there.
However, Saunders said he did not take a knife with him when he went to Miss Bramley home, insisting it was Mr. Lawson who had it
He confronted Michael Lawson in the street. He told the court: ‘I told him “She just used you, she has been texting and ringing me”.
Why don’t you f*** off and leave me alone.” He pushed me. I pushed him back.
I saw something in his hand, I saw it was a knife in his right hand. I kicked the bottom of his wrist. I chased him, he slipped on the grass.
I kicked out at him I flung my arm out and stabbed him with the knife I had taken from him. I stabbed him but I didn’t intend to kill him.
Prosecutor Nick Dry said:
By the end of June this year both men retained an interest in her and she in them but there was no formal relationship with either.
This led to jealousy on the part of Saunders upon seeing her driving Mr. Lawson’s car and he began to send her abusive text messages and made repeated threats of violence within them against Mr. Lawson.
Just after 2.30am Sarah Bramley sent the defendant an image of herself performing oral sex upon Mr. Lawson.
It is the Crown’s case that the defendant traveled down armed and in a jealous rage to make good the threats he had issued.
Saunders, 33, from Darlington, had earlier denied murder and was scheduled to have a six-day trial before a jury at Teesside Crown Court.