A thug who murdered a 17-year-old boy by stabbing him in the chest after they had watched an Anthony Joshua boxing match in a bar has been jailed for life.
Dominic Halliday-Fox pulled out a kitchen knife with a five-inch blade and made two stabbing motions towards tragic teenager Dante Francis.
The pair had been at Empire bar in Swadlincote, Derbys., which screened Anthony Joshua’s successful heavyweight world fight against Charles Martin on April 9.
A court heard there had been a disagreement between Dante and Halliday-Fox’s girlfriend earlier in the evening.
A fight then broke out after the teenager walked outside the club and was followed by Halliday-Fox and his friends just before 4am on April 10 and a fight
During the altercation, Halliday-Fox lunged twice at Dante with the kitchen knife – leaving him with a fatal stab wound to his heart.
Dante was rushed to the Royal Derby Hospital and then transferred to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham but died on April 12, two days after the attack.
Halliday-Fox, 21, no fixed abode, admitted inflicting the fatal stab wound but denied murder, claiming he lunged twice at the teen while acting in self-defence.
But a jury of seven men and five women took less than two hours to find him guilty of the murder at Nottingham Crown Court.
On Monday (31/10) Halliday-Fox was jailed for life and ordering to serve a minimum of 23 years behind bars.
Judge Gregory Dickinson QC told him: “You took a knife out with you and you said in evidence it was for your own protection.
“How many times has that been said in court by a defendant that has then used that knife to cause really serious injuries or to kill?
“So long as young men like you carry knives and use them there will be more pointless young lives lost and more heartbreak for families whose lives have been torn apart.
“Dante himself did nothing wrong, nothing to provoke you or attack you.
“You saw what his mother said, that you have shown total disregard for her son’s life.
“She said: ‘He’s not only taken my son away from me, but a father away from his child’.”
Halliday-Fox was arrested on April 13 when police found him hiding in a roof space at a house in Derby.
He told officers he believed the teenager was coming at him and might have had a knife himself.
The court heard at the time of his death, Dante’s girlfriend was pregnant with what would have been his first child.
Dante’s mother Dinah Francis fought back tears as she told the court the teenager told her he would “hold on” to life as she held his hand in the ambulance.
In an emotional victim impact statement, the grieving mum said she was woken by a phone call telling her to get to the scene as soon as possible at 4am.
She added: “That is just what I did and I got there just in time while he was still awake.
“I was in the back of an ambulance with him holding his hand and he said to me: ‘It’s okay, mum, I will hold on’ – and that was the last time I heard my son’s voice.
“Losing him has been the most devastating thing to happen to me in my life.
“To say this has turned my life is an understatement and to hear how he died has only added to the pain because he was killed for no reason at the age of just 17.”
Mrs Francis told how Dante was “always joking and laughing” as a baby and as a youngster had excelled at sport.
She said he started boxing at the age of six, played rugby for Leicester Tigers as a youngster and enjoyed basketball and football.
Mrs Francis added: “He enjoyed life and, when he was 12, his brother, my second son, came along.
“There was instant love between the two of them and now, as a five-year-old, I know I will soon have to tell him how his big brother died.
“They had special love between them.
“Dante’s girlfriend was pregnant at the time that he was killed and it hurts me so much knowing he will never get to be the amazing father I know he would have been.”
“The man who killed my son has shown a total disregard for life and I find that disgusting.
“He has devastated so many family members and friends who all loved Dante.
“Nothing can bring back my son but he needs justice and this murderer needs to be locked away for a very long time.”
Peter Wilcock QC, defending, said Halliday-Fox had written a letter to the court saying he was “truly sorry” for what he had done.
He added: “This is not a case where there is premeditation.”
Speaking after the hearing, Detective Chief Inspector Paul Tatlow, from Derbyshire Police, said: “The simple fact is that, if Dominic Halliday-Fox had not gone to that party that night armed with a knife, we would not be in this tragic situation now where a family has lost a young and well-loved young man.”