Teen accused of murdering dad-of-five ‘copied Breaking Bad to destroy body with acid’

A teenager stabbed a dad-of-five in the head then tried to destroy his body with acid after watching Breaking Bad, a court heard.

George Knights, 19, told a jury he thought the copycat method was the only way he could “get rid of” his victim.

The teenager is accused of murdering Stephen Chapman, 38, known as Ginger, in October last year.

Knights told Maidstone crown court on Wednesday that he was acting in self-defence when he caused the fatal wounds.

But when asked about why he had then dumped the body in a stolen wheelie bin and doused it with sulphuric acid, he replied: “I watched Breaking Bad and in my madness at that point I thought that the only way I could get rid of him was to do what they did in that film.

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Stephen Chapman
Victim Stephen Chapman, known as Ginger

“It was the only thing I could think of.

“I looked up on my computer what acid it was and it was sulphuric acid, which is what I had used in an attempt to make amphetamine, and what kind of plastic you have to put it in.

“The wheelie bin was the right plastic. I got the wheelie bin from down the road….I don’t know what I was thinking at this point.

“My mind was just everywhere. I brought it back to the house and put it in the conservatory.

“I put it on its side in the kitchen….Then I pushed and pulled Ginger into the wheelie bin. While I was doing that his shoes came off. That’s why he wasn’t wearing any.

“Obviously I wasn’t thinking straight at all. I didn’t put a gas mask on or anything like that. I got acid which was already in the house and poured it on top in the bin until I couldn’t breathe anymore.

“Then I shut the conservatory doors and I left. I think I went upstairs and I was just crying.



Breaking Bad
Knights told the court the hit TV series Breaking Bad had influenced his actions

“I shouldn’t have done what I did but I wasn’t thinking rationally at that point in time. I wish I had called the police.

“When I went upstairs and sat on my bed I was crying and saying to myself ‘Why? Why did this have to happen?’

“I wished I had called the police but at that moment in time I decided to put my family first.”

At the start of the trial, the court heard Knights, who used the name of Breaking Bad’s crystal meth-making main character Walter White as a password reminder for a personal account on his phone, accepts killing Mr Chapman and trying to destroy his body.

The pair had arranged to meet at the teenager’s home in Rochester, Kent, on October 23 so he could buy cocaine from the victim.

Knights claimed he had felt endangered by Mr Chapman, who he said he had regularly boasted about his criminal past and underworld connections.

On the night of the alleged murder, Knights said he put his dad’s double-edged Royal Marine dagger down his pants after Mr Chapman made a reference to being armed himself – ‘strapped’ – and had threatened to ‘teach him a lesson with one phone call’.



Stephen Chapman
Knights claimed Mr Chapman regularly boasted about his underworld connections

Knights, who was 18 at the time, described feeling ‘a great risk to his safety’ shortly before Mr Chapman punched him unexpectedly to his jaw.

He told the court: “We ended up in a struggle, grabbing each other and he pushed me as hard as he could onto the ground.

“Ginger got on top of me. He punched me in the stomach and the chest but I was stopping that by holding him against me. That’s when he noticed the knife.

“I recall him shouting ‘You’ve got a knife. I’m going to kill you’. He was on top of me. He tried to stab me once with his left hand. He went for my head. I felt like I was going to die.”

The teenager described how he then grabbed the dagger and stabbed Mr Chapman with severe force to the back of his head.

“I had the knife in my left hand, I pulled his body against me with my right arm and put the knife into his head. I just had to go for the first thing I saw. At the time I genuinely thought he was going to kill me,” he said.

Knights told the court he was left crying, shaking and vomiting.

He told the court he then tried to clean up the blood and hide the body with a towel, bedsheet, plastic bag, rugs and a military bag before resorting to the bin and acid.

Asked why he had not called the police, he said: “All I could think about was his (Mr Chapman’s) associates coming to get me and my family.”

Knights then binged throughout the night on anxiety medication, alcohol and illicit drugs while partying with friends, the jury were told.

When calls to his dad, who was away for the weekend, went unanswered, he sent a message the next day saying: ‘You’ve got to come back to the house. This is serious. I need your help here.’

Mr Chapman was reported missing by his worried family within a few hours of his disappearance and his decomposing body was eventually found by police in Knights’s conservatory on the morning of October 25, according to the prosecution.

He was still in the wheelie bin with the dagger embedded 16cm into his skull, the court heard.

Knights denies murder in what the prosecution allege was a plan to ‘rob, hurt or kill’ Mr Chapman for £2,500 worth of cocaine.

The teenager refuted the accusation in a series of questions by his barrister Gillian Jones QC, and when asked why he had stabbed Mr Chapman in the head that night, he replied: “I was defending myself. It was self-defence.”

The trial continues.



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