Heartbroken mum of young man murdered in Fleetwood says killer 'will never be forgiven'

Killer: Stephen Derbyshire
Killer: Stephen Derbyshire
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The mum of a 'gentle and caring' man who was stabbed to death in Fleetwood has vowed that his killer 'will never be forgiven'.

Dad-of-two Michael Hart, 31, was murdered by Stephen Derbyshire in a jealous rage after he discovered he had exchanged racy text messages with his girlfriend.

Murdered: Michael Hart

Murdered: Michael Hart

Derbyshire, 34, of Hawthorn Drive, Thornton, stabbed Mr Hart, 31, in a ‘frenzy’ after deliberately driving into his car on Hatfield Avenue and chasing him onto Broomfield Road in the early hours of December 9 2018.

READ MORE>>> Ex-girlfriend of murdered Fleetwood dad tells court: "I felt blamed for Michael's death"

He had previously denied killing Mr Hart, however his plea was changed at the last minute.

At Preston Crown Court today, Judge Mark Brown watched CCTV footage of the attack, during which a blade could be seen glinting in Derbyshire’s hand as he stabbed Mr Hart 16 times in the face, neck and chest.

He was given a life sentence with a minimum of 20 years.

Mr Hart's mother Karen Potts said in court: "My beautiful Michael was my only son. Everyone who met him cherished him.

"He made us all better people. He brought our large family closer. People wanted to be in his company because he was such a good person to be around.

"Michael was a gentle man with a caring heart and he should be an inspiration to others about how to be. He was dependable and generous with his time. He looked after his elderly relatives and enjoyed their company.

"He treasured his two children and would spent time with them. He would not drink often and felt responsible for the children even when he was not with then, He was a true father, always putting them first.

"It's easy to see how jealousy can cause resentment because Michael really did have it all - but what a waste of a life. His death will never be justified or accepted.

"We are proud of Michael because even at the end he was the better man, and he was looking out for his children.

"(Derbyshire) imposed a life sentence on us the day he murdered my son. He will never be forgiven."

The court heard Mr Hart had previously been in a relationship with Derbyshire’s then-girlfriend, Lisa Cardwell, who he had two children with. The pair had rekindled their relationship, but had not yet told their respective partners.

At around midnight on December 9, Derbyshire and Miss Cardwell returned to their home after a night out drinking. They argued and Derbyshire demanded to see her phone, eventually taking it from her and discovering the messages that she had sent to Mr Hart.

Miss Cardwell fled the property with her two children and went to Mr Hart’s sister’s house.

At around 1.10am, Mr Hart received a phone call from his sister saying Miss Cardwell had been “battered” by Derbyshire, and he left his home to see them. Less than 10 minutes later, he was crashed into by Derbyshire on Hatfield Avenue.

Det Ch Insp Leah Rice, of Lancashire Police, said: “Derbyshire became consumed with jealousy and as a result launched an utterly savage attack on an innocent man, who had no way of defending himself.

“He robbed Mr Hart of the rest of his life and robbed Mr Hart’s two children of their beloved father.

“The last few months have been incredibly difficult for Mr Hart’s family and I hope this sentence brings them some sense of justice. They, and Mr Hart, remain in our thoughts.”

In a statement provided by the police, Mr Hart's family added: “Derbyshire murdered our beautiful son and grandson, loving brother, uncle and doting partner and caring father, and gave us all a life sentence.

“We will never be the same family, as Michael was the glue that held us together. He was the centre of our world and he will be missed every second of every day for the rest of our lives.

“That monster will never feel what we do because he has no feelings, no remorse, and is made of cowardice and bitterness. We hope he rots in prison – it’s the only place he deserves to be. No amount of years will be enough as this pain is everything.”