The devastated family of a man stabbed to death in Bulwell have published a heartfelt account of the impact of his death as his attacker begins an eight-year jail sentence.
Adam Ward, 18, of Nottingham, denied fatally stabbing 38-year-old Lee Marshall after an argument outside a party last June.
But he was found guilty of manslaughter following a trial at Nottingham Crown Court, and on Friday (March 22) he was sentenced to eight years in prison.
Aaron Aziz, 29, of Nottingham, was found guilty of assisting an offender and was given a 12-month sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service.
Mr Marshall was attacked in Commercial Road on June 29. Police arrived at around 3.30am and found a group of teenagers gathered around Mr Marshall, who was lying on the pavement and had lost a lot of blood.
Police officers began first aid and an ambulance arrived and took Mr Marshall to hospital. He died later that morning.
After Ward’s sentencing, Mr Marshall’s family made public a detailed 1,996-word statement of how the crime had transformed their lives.
In the statement, published in full below, and released through Notts Police, Mr Marhsall’s fiancée, Kim, said: “I cannot imagine Lee not being stood by my side sharing the joy at the girls’ prom night, their graduation, when they go on to get married and have children.
“When I think about what will now never be, I often cry or lay awake at night going over these thoughts.”
Ward was arrested and charged with murder and shortly afterwards Aziz was arrested and charged with assisting an offender, for driving Ward away from the scene.
CCTV showed Ward getting into Aziz’s car just after 4am, having called him just after the stabbing. During the nine-week trial, Ward admitted he had delivered the fatal blow but claimed he had been acting in self-defence to protect the rest of the group of teenagers.
Detective Inspector Richard Monk of Notts Police said: “This is a tragic case which highlights the devastation caused by carrying knives. One man has lost his life and two young men have had to face the consequences of their actions – had they not involved a knife in the altercation, I have no doubt it would have been a very different outcome.
“I’d like to thank the officers who worked tirelessly on this case, as well as the innocent partygoers who provided accounts despite being deeply distressed by what had happened. I hope Lee’s family can start to gain some form of closure following today’s sentencing.”
Four other teenagers were charged with the murder of Mr Marshall but were all acquitted during the trial at Nottingham Crown Court.
In full: Mr Marshall’s fiancée, Kim, provided this statement on behalf of Mr Marshall’s family;
“This personal statement expresses a heartfelt insight into the devastating impact Lee’s death has had on my life and the lives of our two daughters, aged eight and one. This personal statement also represents a family united in grief over Lee’s death, the grief expressed through memories, thoughts and emotions from Lee’s mother, Sharon Marshall, Lee’s brother, Stephen Marshall, and Lee’s sister, Lynne Marshall.
“Prior to the life changing and life ending events of Friday 29 June 2018, Lee and I were a normal, happy, loving family. Lee and I began our relationship during 2007. All who knew us as a couple would refer to us as inseparable soul mates. Lee meant everything to me. I was proud fiancée to Lee, excited over the arrangements for our wedding cruise planned for 2019. Our wedding and marriage will now never be a reality due to the senseless way Lee was killed. Simply put, Lee was in the wrong place at the wrong time walking our dogs. This thought still shouts at me, its haunting echo piercing in to what I think and feel.
“Lee’s mum, Sharon, spoke of memories concerning the way in which Lee would always make people around him laugh and feel happy with his jokes and his amazing distinctive laugh. During 2018 Lee and I together with our daughters went on a cruise holiday. Lee’s mum and grandmother also came with us.
“Lee’s grandmother was ill and required the use of a wheelchair. Lee took charge and was her chaperone throughout the entire holiday, helping her on and off the cruise liner and making sure she had food and drinks. Lee made the holiday a happy time for his grandmother – he cheered her up on what was to be her final holiday. She sadly died on 23 May 2018.
“Lee was deeply saddened over the death of his grandmother. I make mention of this due to the death of his father four days prior to the death of his grandmother. Lee’s father’s funeral was on 18 June 2018. Lee’s grandmother’s funeral followed on 19 June. At the funeral Lee was brave and strong for his mother that day. He sat next to her holding her hand in a supportive way.
“During this time Lee was instrumental in bringing the family together. Lee’s elder brother Stephen who had been estranged from his siblings for nearly 20 years recalls how they stood as brothers in arms like nothing had happened as if they had spent the last 20 years side by side. In the words of Stephen Marshall:
“Lee was such a forgiving human being, he didn’t ask for an explanation regarding my estrangement we hugged it out and talked about how amazing it was going to be making up for lost years. Lee had been the rock of the family for a long time, supporting all that carried the Marshall name. Friends and family were everything to Lee. Neither of us not for a second thought that amazing summer month of June would end so tragically.”
“As I’m sure you can imagine June 2018 was a very difficult time for us as a family and we were doing our upmost best to support one another.
“Then it happened, the end to the life that Lee and I had made, worked for and had loved so passionately. Without warning came the banging on the front door to our home together with the shouts, the screams of “Lee’s been stabbed, Lee’s been stabbed”. Imagine the level of terror and panic going through the mind of our eight-year-old daughter having woken to the sound of voices shouting that her daddy had been hurt. Imagine me as a mother and fiancée having to process that Lee had been stabbed together with the crude and insensitive manner in which I had been told.
“I just could not process this.
“Lee’s violent death has exposed me to many distressing experiences all of which will remain with me forever. I attended the mortuary where Lee had been temporarily placed to rest in order to formally identify him. I recall the expression on his face; it was as though he wanted to burst into tears. Again, I will never forget. I then had to endure an agonising seven weeks wait before I was finally able to touch Lee and kiss him. I knew that this would be our final time together. I didn’t want to leave him. I do not have the words to express the raw emotion and utter despair I suffered at that point. I can’t express those feelings in words, I just can’t do it.
“Since her father’s death, our eldest daughter now has emotional problems which are having a detrimental impact on both her home and school life. She now wets the bed since this has happened and she no longer socialises with her friends as much as she did prior to her father’s death. She is currently receiving counselling as she is struggling to process the realisation that she will not see her daddy ever again.
“Our youngest daughter, people may say is too young to remember her dad however, she can sense an absence in place of where her daddy used to be. A photograph is placed in her cot at bedtime and I will ensure that she will grow up knowing what an amazing father and person Lee was. I will have difficult challenges ahead as she grows older as there will come a point in time when she will want to know what happened to her daddy. How do you begin to explain to your daughter the reasons behind why her dad was killed in such a senseless and violent way? There is no justifiable explanation.
“The home where the girls and I live is full of memories of Lee. I will never leave this home as I want my children to grow up in the home where we as a family were happy. For the rest of our lives Lee will no longer play a part in any celebrations with us such as birthdays, Christmas and Father’s Day. My children will see their friends with their daddies and feel saddened by the fact that their daddy is no longer with them.
“As a mother, you hope never to witness your child’s funeral. For Lee’s mother this became a reality that is best described in her own words:
“It truly was the worst day of my life and a memory that will stay etched in my mind forever. I’d describe the death of a child regardless of their age as having a permanent effect on how you continue to feel emotionally as a person. Somehow your heart doesn’t quite feel right, as if there is a piece missing, never to be replaced. I find comfort through my relationship with my two granddaughters. Lee and Kim’s eldest daughter was very close to her dad. Where once there was laughter and singing, there is now deep sadness and a compelling need for her dad to return.”
“There are many examples of how Lee’s death and the circumstances of how he was killed have affected those who love him. Lee’s sister Lynne provides words for one of particular poignancy:
“Just how do I come to terms with losing a beloved brother in such a needless, violent way? The shock and grief over what had happened to Lee was unbearable for me, all was broken. I was unable to function properly, so much so that I ended up taking three months away from my place of work.
“I decided to return to work fulfilling my role as a social worker within child protection. I have wanted to keep busy in an effort to detract from my otherwise constant thoughts on what happened to Lee. I often work with families who have suffered bereavement together with families who are victims of a crime, including knife crime. Every day as I work I am reminded about what happened to Lee. My employer has been supportive although I still find myself struggling with managing anxiety at work since the death of Lee. I regret not spending more time with Lee, making more memories, but no one could predict that his life would come to an untimely and heart breaking end.”
“I acknowledge Lee’s distant criminal past. It must be said that Lee received punishment as a result of his criminality. As is obvious to all who knew him, Lee reflected on his actions and changed his lifestyle for the better. Lee worked hard and long hours as a cable layer. This enabled him to provide for our family financially. Lee ensured that we had stability and the nice things in life. He was admired by his employer, so much so that he would often receive a bonus. Lee was and will remain a well-liked, much-loved and respected man not only by me but by many of his friends and family.
“Lee’s elder brother Stephen Marshall recalled the circumstances of how Lee inherited the nickname “Razor” from his friends and anybody who had anything to do with him. This is best described using Stephen’s own words:
“As young kids we moved to Basford and built a small group of good friends very quickly. Over time we all gave each other nicknames. I was appointed the nickname “Stiggy” largely due to my long unkempt hair and general poor appearance despite my mum’s best efforts. Lee was awarded the nickname “Razor” due to his over usage of hair gel and an incident where he had cut himself whilst trying to use our dad’s shaver on his non-existent facial hair! Our youngest brother Phillip was given the nickname “Peanut” due to the shape of his head! Those names have followed us and our friends into adult life. Rest in peace Lee Marshall, my big-little Brother.”
“This year on Valentine’s Day I spent the day remembering the fun Lee and I would usually have on this day. He would get me a card, flowers and we would enjoy an evening out. The reality now is that I am mourning his death and having to sit through a criminal trial listening to evidence describing Lee’s final few hours before his death. It is so hard walking past the place where Lee was attacked and stabbed. I can’t imagine that it will get any easier. Thursday 7 March would have been his 39th birthday. This date will be one of annual remembrance for family and friends.
“Lee’s death has brought with it a number of dates in which to remember him. Lee’s sister, Lynne, referred to 20 June as a date to remember Lee. This date was the first birthday of our youngest daughter. Lynne spoke to me about how great the day was, everyone having fun with Lee being right at the centre of all the laughter that was going on. It was also a bright, hot, sunny day. It was a picture perfect day. Lynne described this moment in time and Lee’s character as:
“Lee always made people laugh which was one of his many qualities. I recall how proud I was of Lee. We spoke about how hard Lee had been working, his plans for his and Kim’s wedding and it was clear how much Lee’s daughters adored him. Things were going well in his life.”
“As a family we hope that justice is served and that anyone held accountable for Lee’s death realises the impact their actions have had on us and in particular our two daughters. I cannot imagine Lee not being stood by my side sharing the joy at the girls’ prom night, their graduation, when they go on to get married and have children. When I think about what will now never be, I often cry or lay awake at night going over these thoughts.
“I miss Lee so much. I wanted to grow old with Lee, he was my forever love.”