19-year-old teen who tried to destroy father-of-five’s body with acid found guilty of murder

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A teenager who copied Breaking Bad by attempting to destroy the body of a father of five with sulfuric acid after stabbing him in the head has been found guilty of murder.

George Knights, 19, told a court he was inspired by the American crime series after he stabbed his father’s Royal Marine commando dagger 16 inches deep into Stephen Chapman’s skull.

Knights then stole a neighbor’s trash can and dumped the body of Mr Chapman, 38, in it before dousing him with six bottles of drain cleaner high in sulfuric acid.

In other similarities to the show, a jury learned that Knights had access to acid from his attempts to make amphetamine at his home in Rochester, Kent, and he used the name of lead character “Walter White” – who made crystal methamphetamine – as his password reminder for an online DVLA account.

George Knights (pictured), 19, told a court he took inspiration from the American crime series after inserting his father’s Royal Marine commando dagger 16 inches deep into Stephen Chapman’s skull

Maidstone Crown Court, Kent, was told the articulate teenager’s life was “weirder than fiction”, and a judge described the murder and its background as “extremely disturbing”.

Knights, an avid bodybuilder and cage fighting fan who had a dagger and snake tattooed on his neck just days before the murder, denied the murder of Chapman on Oct. 23 last year.

He then left Mr. Chapman’s decomposing body in the trash can in his conservatory as he continued to party all night with friends, drunk on drugs and alcohol.

Knights then stole a neighbor's trash can and dumped the body of Mr Chapman (pictured), 38, into it before dousing him with six bottles of drain cleaner high in sulfuric acid

Knights then stole a neighbor’s trash can and dumped the body of Mr Chapman (pictured), 38, into it before dousing him with six bottles of drain cleaner high in sulfuric acid

Mr Chapman was found two days later, with the double-edged military dagger still in his head, after his desperate family broke into Knights’ home.

During their efforts to find him, the teen had repeatedly lied to both the police and Mr Chapman’s pregnant girlfriend about his “disappearance.”

The court heard that the couple had met at 8:40 p.m. at Knights’ home so that the then 18-year-old could purchase £2,500 worth of cocaine from Mr Chapman, known as ‘Ginger’.

Within minutes, Knights killed the forklift driver and then attempted to destroy his body.

But he claimed he acted in self-defense when he stabbed the drug dealer during a struggle on the floor of his living room.

He told the court that he believed his life and family were in danger from Mr Chapman and his criminal ‘colleagues’.

But Knights was found guilty after prosecutor Caroline Carberry QC told the court that the murder was part of a premeditated plan to ‘rob, hurt or even kill Mr Chapman’ at a time when the teen was a ‘ bizarre, out of hand existence’. .

The trial heard in the weeks leading up to the deadly stabbing what was described as other “extremely concerning behavior.”

His father Edward is said to be “frustrated and at his wits’ end” with his son, leading him to refuse to give Knights any more money, cancel his credit card and threaten to evict him if he didn’t change his lifestyle.

Maidstone Crown Court, Kent, was told the life of the articulate teenager (pictured) was

Maidstone Crown Court, Kent, was told the life of the articulate teenager (pictured) was “weirder than fiction”, and a judge described the murder and its background as “extremely disturbing”

In a series of angry messages between the pair, Mr Knights described his teenage son as “a reckless wildman”.

Officers discovered photos on Knights’ phone of Mr Chapman’s body in the trash, his feet with the lid ajar, and a video filmed at one of the two parties he attended after the murder in which he boasted, “I will this for all my new friends in prison.’

The teen also tested positive at his arrest for as many as 13 drugs, including ecstasy, amphetamine, cocaine, prescription medications Zanax and diazepam, and a cocktail of steroids.

Ms Carberry told the jury: ‘George Knights’ behavior in 2020 was stranger than fiction.

“This was a young man who lived in a universe where he had set up his own amphetamine production at home, where a plan to injure, rob and, the prosecutor says, came to his mind disturbingly very easily. This was not a fantasy world.

Knights, an avid bodybuilder and cage-fighting fan who had a dagger with a snake tattooed on his neck just days before the murder (pictured), denied Chapman's murder on Oct. 23 last year.

Knights, an avid bodybuilder and cage-fighting fan who had a dagger with a snake tattooed on his neck just days before the murder (pictured), denied Chapman’s murder on Oct. 23 last year.

George Knights lived a life in which his primary focus was taking drugs, making drugs and selling drugs. He also had an unhealthy fascination with knives.

“The robbery on Stephen Chapman was for drugs and in the course of that he killed Mr Chapman.

“This was just part of the very bizarre existence that George Knights had mapped out for himself at the time.”

Knights, who face a life sentence, did not respond to the verdict, which came after nearly six hours of jury deliberation.

He was told by Judge Philip Statman that in addition to a probation report, he would also need a psychiatric report assessing any danger he poses.

“From what I have heard and the nature of what has happened in this case, I am absolutely certain that the court will also demand a psychiatric report,” the judge said.

“I find this case extremely disturbing…. In my judgment I am very concerned about the level of danger you pose to the community.”

Detective Chief Inspector Gavin Moss, the senior investigating officer for the case, said: ‘Knights is a heartless killer who took Stephen Chapman’s life and robbed his family of a future with him.

“He has shown a horrific disregard for life and, moreover, his efforts to dispose of the body have denied Mr Chapman’s family the chance to see him for the last time.

His lack of remorse is evident in his decision to attend a party shortly after committing the crime and it is compounded by the fact that he chose to put Mr Chapman’s loved ones through the ordeal of a trial. to endure.

“He is a clear and obvious danger to the public and I am pleased that our investigation has resulted in him being convicted. Nothing will ever undo the damage Knights has done, but I sincerely hope Mr. Chapman’s family can feel a sense of reassurance from this result.”

Knights, of Rochester, Kent, will be sentenced at a later date.

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