A man has been convicted of murdering Tyson Fury’s cousin in a bar fight.
Liam O’Pray fatally stabbed Rico Burton, cousin of the world heavyweight boxing champion, outside a bar in Altrincham, Cheshire.
The 22-year-old stabbed Burton, 31, with a seven-inch blade after violence broke out between two groups of men in the early hours of August 22 last year.
Liam O’Pray, pictured, murdered Rico Burton and wounded Harvey Reilly with intent
Mr Burton (left), cousin of boxer Tyson Fury (right), has died after being stabbed in the neck outside a bar in Altrincham.
Burton died of massive blood loss after a knife almost completely severed the main carotid artery in his neck, while a second man, 18-year-old Harvey Reilly, was also stabbed in the same incident, Manchester Crown Court heard.
O’Pray had a prior conviction for having a knife in public in 2019, but the defendant lied to the jury: “I’m not a violent person.”
Damning security cameras played in court showed a fight broke out between the defendant’s friends and Burton’s family and friends in Goose Green, a pub courtyard.
O’Pray had previously been refused entry to a bar and is alleged to have told a bouncer that he was a professional boxer and would come back and “cause him a problem”, which he denied.
Gate staff and witnesses described the defendant as a “loose cannon” and “very erratic.”
Just after 3 am, a witness told the court that “absolute chaos” broke out when O’Prey’s friend, Malachi Hewitt-Brown, was beaten by Mr. Burton’s cousin, Chasiah Burton.
Mr. Burton also aimed a punch at Mr. Hewitt-Brown.
A second later, O’Pray delivered the fatal knife blow to the left side of Rico Burton’s neck, the court heard.
A police cordon and uniformed officers stand outside a bar in Goose Green, Altrincham, in the early hours of August 22 last year.
Marked police cars and vans on the streets of Altrincham after the incident on August 22 last year.
Michael Brady KC, defending, asked the defendant: ‘Did you take the knife out of your pocket and expose the blade before you threw a punch?
‘Did you tell someone? Did you say: ‘I have a knife, go away’? Did you shake it?
O’Pray said: ‘They were all in my face. I didn’t say a word. He was surrounded by them. I just reacted.
Brady added: “This is normal for you, to go out drinking, to be violent.”
The prosecutor suggested that O’Pray “almost always carried a knife.”
But O’Pray told jury a month before the fatal incident that he had been left covered, ‘from head to toe’ in blood, kicked and stabbed in the hand in a fight after his £500 hat was taken from him.
The defendant said he bought the knife because he was ‘concerned’ after the July incident and to ‘defend me’ since he had been beaten up.
He also said that he had used the knife as a tool in his work as a gardener.
O’Pray, from Swinton, Salford, was found guilty of murder by a jury of seven women and five men after three and a half hours of deliberations following a three-week trial.
Burton’s relatives who packed the public gallery shouted “yes” as the guilty verdict was delivered.
O’Pray on the bench did not react.
He was also found guilty of wounding with intent to cut and stabbing Harvey Reilly, 17 at the time and now 18, during the same incident in the early hours of Sunday, August 22 last year.
The trial was said to have started after a fight between the defendant’s friends and Burton’s family and friends at Goose Green, a pub yard in Altrincham, Cheshire.
Judge Alan Conrad KC said he will hand down sentencing on August 4, though the defendant faces a mandatory life sentence for murder.