A man has been sentenced to life imprisonment for killing his older brother in the middle of the street

A man has been sentenced to life imprisonment for killing his older brother in the middle of the street

James Rutherford, who fatally stabbed his older brother Gary Wilkie eight times during a drug-fueled killing, has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 17-and-a-half years.

Rutherford had taken a “cocktail of drugs” before the murder and believed that his brother had stolen cash from him, which triggered his deadly assault.

The attack took place in the middle of the street on August 2, last year. Despite having different fathers, the siblings had grown up together and were close to each other throughout their lives.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that in the hours before the killing, Rutherford had taken heroin, cocaine, diazepam, and cannabis before falling asleep at a friend’s house in Blyth, Northumberland, where Mr. Wilkie had been.

When Rutherford woke up in the early hours, he noticed his brother had made off with his phone and £160. Rutherford then hunted down his sibling, finding him at their grandmother’s.

The court heard the woman was awoken by the sound of the pair speaking downstairs in her kitchen but Mr. Wilkie left the address and was followed by Rutherford.

The pair made their way to Duke’s Gardens where Rutherford took a knife from his waistband and launched the attack, which was captured on a Ring Doorbell camera from a neighboring property.

Unarmed Mr. Wilkie, 45, screamed at his younger brother “don’t stab me there” as Rutherford held him up and repeatedly plunged the knife into him.


When Mr. Wilkie told Rutherford he was bleeding, the killer replied “he knew that and that he hoped that he died.” The victim was conscious for 20 minutes after the attack before he passed out, and never woke up.

Despite the best efforts of medics and the police, Mr. Wilkie was pronounced dead at the scene just after 4.30am.

A post-mortem revealed he had suffered eight stab wounds to the scalp, chest, arms, and left leg.

The court heard the knife was later forensically analyzed and was found to have the defendant’s DNA on the handle.

At an earlier court hearing in November, Rutherford pleaded guilty to the charge of murder. He also admitted possession of a blade.

Despite the defense’s claims that Rutherford had achieved a number of certificates while in prison and hopes to put his time to good use while serving his sentence, the judge sentenced him to life behind bars with a minimum term of 17-and-a-half years.


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