Man who stabbed friend to death during birthday celebrations convicted of murder
A heartbroken family has released an emotional statement after a man was stabbed to death by his friend during birthday celebrations in Skelmersdale.
Janis Mikitovs, who was celebrating his 36th birthday, invited his friend Kristaps Muzikants to come to his house in Skelmersdale to party with him on Saturday, March 28.
But the celebrations turned to tragedy after Mikitovs stabbed his friend following a night of drinking.
Kristaps Muzikants, 30, died at Aintree Hospital in the early hours of March 28 as a result of a stab wound to the abdomen.
A post-mortem examination revealed he had suffered a single 23cm knife wound which had sliced through his liver, causing catastrophic internal bleeding.
Mikitovs, 36, of Acregate, Skelmersdale, had denied murdering his friend but was convicted yesterday (September 23) following a trial at Preston Crown Court. He will be sentenced later.
In a tribute, Mr Muzikants’ family said: "Kristaps was a really nice person, he was always happy. When we found out about Kristap's death our family was devastated.
"What has happened to Kristaps is unbelievable and is still very hard to accept. Our family is longing to see his face, his smile and hear his voice.
"My sister and myself both have children and they are missing their uncle and they say that he is an 'angel who now lives in heaven’. We all miss him so much.”
Mikitovs initially claimed to police at the scene that Mr Muzikants had gone outside prior to him being found injured in the street.
He later changed his story but claimed he had no knowledge of how Mr Muzikants got his injury.
Det Chief Insp Gareth Willis, of the Force Major Investigation Team, said: "What happened in the early hours of March 28 was an absolute tragedy and my thoughts remain with Mr Muzikants loved ones. I would like to thank the family for the dignity they have shown throughout these proceedings and I hope that today’s verdict will give them some chance of moving on with their lives.
"While Janis Mikitovs has never given an explanation for his actions in that house, the evidence clearly showed that he and he alone was responsible for the senseless killing of his friend and I am grateful to the jury for considering the facts so carefully in reaching their unanimous guilty verdict.
"This case sadly once again shows all too clearly the devastating consequences that can result from violence involving the use of a knife."