Man, 54, who stabbed friend for showing him up at pub found guilty of murder
A man who stabbed his friend 14 times with a 40cm carving knife for showing him up in a pub has been found guilty of murder. Christopher Baptiste, 54, killed Sonny Booty, 36, at the terraced house where they both lived in Lewisham, South London, on August 13 last year.
He went on to hand himself in to police saying “I’ve murdered my flatmate” only to later retract his confession and claim he left Mr Booty “alive and well”. Jurors were also told Baptiste had a previous wounding conviction in 2021 for stabbing a neighbour twice with a kitchen knife. He denied murdering Mr Booty at his trial but the jury took only two hours to reach a guilty verdict.
Prosecutor Robert O’Sullivan KC said the two men had a “volatile” friendship and had spent that evening drinking and playing pool at the Anchor pub. Just after 10.30pm an argument broke out and the pair were asked to leave by the landlady. Later, neighbours near their home in Loampit Vale heard voices saying “shut your mouth before I kill you” and “stop it”.
A housemate who had been watching television and listening to music in an upstairs flat was alerted by the defendant hammering on his door, the Old Bailey heard. Baptiste said he had a “tear up” with Mr Booty after he had shown him up at the pub in front of other people, demanding drinks, it was claimed.
He confided that “it was really naughty what I done” and he was “going to get bird this time”, jurors were told. The defendant also called friends and allegedly told one: “I’ve killed my flatmate. This had been brewing for a while.”
Just before 9am on August 14, Baptiste walked into Lewisham police station and said: “I’ve murdered my flatmate … There was a knife being waved around and I’ve got cuts on my hands.”
Mr O’Sullivan told jurors: “Police officers immediately went there and gained entry to the ground-floor flat, where they discovered a trail of blood leading from the rear bedroom out into the back yard. A bloodstained carving knife was lying on the bed.
“In the back yard they found Sonny Booty, lying on his back on the ground. He was dead and had clearly been dead for some time. He was covered in blood, which had dried, his body was stiff to the touch and had attracted flies. He had suffered multiple stab wounds, including to his face, head, chest, buttocks and thigh.”
A post-mortem examination found Mr Booty had been stabbed 14 times, with the fatal wound to the heart. On August 15, Baptiste said in a prepared statement that he “had to defend” himself as Mr Booty had a knife. Baptiste has since suggested that when he left Mr Booty’s flat he was “alive and well”, the court was told.
Judge Richard Foster is expected to sentence Baptiste at the Old Bailey later on Friday.