A FORMER engineer has been convicted of killing an amateur boxer who died a gruesome death in a pub toilet.
Francesco John Prevete will know his fate on Friday after he was convicted of the murder of 34-year-old Craig Maddocks.
But a judge told him he faced a mandatory life sentence.
Mr Justice Jeremy Baker QC told Prevete, 46, that he needed time to consider carefully the submissions he had received and consider the minimum term he should serve before he could be considered for release.
After the verdict the prosecution argued it was a 30-year category case, saying Prevete’s actions amounted to “sadistic conduct”.
Prevete, dressed in a smart dark suit, white shirt and bow tie, was found guilty of murdering Mr Maddocks in a frenzied knife attack in a toilet cubicle at the Cambrian Vaults public house in Wrexham.
Mr Maddocks had 52 stab wounds – inflicted by a flick knife said to be of Italian origin dating back to the 1940s.
The jury took just over three-and-a-half hours to reach their verdicts.
After the verdict Suzanne Goddard QC, defending, said, given the jury’s verdict, Prevete must have taken the knife with him, there was no evidence he intended to use it.
He had been behaving normally after attending his father’s funeral wake.
It was a frenzied and quick attack by a man of good character who had a lack of premeditation, Miss Goddard said.
“This offence is completely out of character and inexplicable, other than drink and drugs,” she said.
Thirty year sentences were reserved for the most serious of murders with torture and the like, she said.
Karl Scholz, prosecuting, argued it was a 30-year category case in view of the nature of the killing.
He said “it amounts to a hacking, part-slicing and part-stabbing to the neck, which amounts to sadistic conduct”.
It was rare indeed to find so many life- threatening wounds being inflicted on an individual, he said.
The defence said he did not do it – but also put forward an alternative defence that if the jury found that he did the killing, he did it in the aftermath of an epileptic event and he was labouring under an insane automatism.
That would have meant a not guilty verdict.
Jury members were also asked to consider a verdict of manslaughter on the basis of a loss of control.
Prevete, of Weale Court, Wrexham, denied murdering amateur boxer Mr Maddocks, of Llay, in the early hours of June 26 last year.
Mr Maddocks, who was a former partner of Mr Prevete’s niece, died of “shock and haemorrhaging” from multiple wounds to the neck and chest, from a flick knife.
Prevete claimed he found Mr Maddocks with a knife in his back in the cubicle and all he did was to try to help him.
He told police at the scene: “I was just trying to plug his holes. The blood was spurting everywhere.”
Prevete, who was described in court as a gentle giant and spent much of the trial smiling at everybody in court, was covered in his victim’s blood, which Mr Scholz said showed he was the attacker.
But Miss Goddard suggested someone else unknown could have killed Mr Maddocks and left the pub without being seen.
She also asked the jury to consider the medical evidence and called an expert witness who suggested Prevete had acted under an epileptic seizure, something the prosecution suggested he had simply made up.