Preston murder trial: Archaeologist Connor Rumble cleared of murder and manslaughter of Adam Le Roi
Jurors have returned not guilty verdicts in the case of the man accused of murdering Adam Le Roi.
Connor Rumble, 26, of New Hall Lane, Preston, accepts causing the wounds that killed Adam Le Roi, 25, but had maintained that he had grabbed the knife to 'scare him off' and put distance between them.
Mr Le Roi, who previously lived in Florida, was stabbed last November after he and his friend, Christopher Johnson, visited Rumble's flat in Kayley House to complain about alleged anti-social behaviour, leading to a fracas.
He died of shock and haemorrhage due to stab wounds to his left shoulder penetrating the axillary and pulmonary arteries.
The prosecution claimed Rumble, a UCLan archaeology graduate who ran as a Tory councillor in Preston in 2019, attacked an unarmed man with murderous intent.
But the defence argued the knife wound was sustained as Le Roi, who had consumed alcohol and cocaine, advanced towards Rumble at a time the defendant was backing away, brandishing the knife in an effort to maintain distance between them.
CCTV of part of the incident, showing Rumble holding a knife, before Le Roi emerges into a corridor and into a lift, bleeding, was played to jurors during the trial.
Tim Storrie QC, defending Rumble, had told the jury he reacted to a situation where he and his friend were being attacked by Mr Le Roi and Mr Johnson, and suggested the CCTV had indicated something happening "around the corner" out of view to make him act in the way he did.
They took five hours and 48 minutes to clear him of both murder and manslaughter.
The verdict means nobody has been convicted of an offence over Adam Le Roi's death.
Rumble's co-defendant and flatmate, Grant Gardner, who had initially been charged alongside him, was formally cleared earlier in the proceedings after Judge Brian Cummings QC agreed with a submission he had no case to answer.
It had been alleged Mr Gardner had kicked Le Roi in the incident, but a post mortem examination showed he had died from the stab wounds.
After the case Connor Rumble's mother, Angela Palmer, said: "As a mother I feel sympathy for Adam Le Roi's family.
"As a family we’re just incredibly grateful that justice has been done and that the decision by the jury was unanimous.
"Connor just wants to get on with his life now."
His girlfriend, Charlotte Holden, added: "I'm very grateful for Connors legal team for getting the truth out there and the jury for listening and coming to a unanimous decision.
"Justice has been done and we can get on with our lives again."
Mr Le Roi's family did not wish to speak.
A Lancashire Police spokesman said: "We respect the verdicts reached by the jury in this case and thank them for considering these matters so carefully.
"At this time we are not looking for anyone else in connection with this investigation.
"We worked closely with the Crown Prosecution Service and all of the evidence was subjected to careful scrutiny before a decision was taken to charge and to put this before a jury, in the belief that there was sufficient evidence to justify a realistic prospect of conviction.
"The burden of proof in our system is quite rightly high and once again we thank the jury for giving this case their full consideration.
"Adam's death has had a devastating impact on his family. It is tragic and utterly heart-breaking.
"Our thoughts remain with them at this very sad and difficult time."
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