A 43-year-old accused of stabbing an Ipswich man to death in the garden of a bungalow in an east Suffolk village has been convicted of manslaughter. 

Jay Cotterill, of Ipswich Avenue, Sutton Heath, had denied murdering 37-year-old Richard Hunt in the village in October last year.

Cotterill was cleared by a jury of that charge but convicted of an alternative less serious offence of manslaughter.

He had also denied assaulting Mr Hunt's former partner Stephanie Harvey causing her actual bodily harm and was cleared of this charge. 

The jury at Ipswich Crown Court retired to consider its verdicts on Wednesday and returned its verdicts at 12.50pm on Friday after 12 hours of deliberations.

The scene in Sutton HeathThe scene in Sutton Heath (Image: Newsquest)

Cotterill had a seizure earlier in the week and wasn't in court to hear the verdicts.

Judge Martyn Levett adjourned sentence until August 9 for allow a pre-sentence report and a report by a neurologist to be prepared on Cotterill who is in custody.

The court heard that Cotterill has 63 previous convictions - including robbery, assault and supplying class A drugs.

During Cotterill's three-week trial, the court heard that on the night of the alleged murder Mr Hunt and Ms Harvey had driven to the bungalow in Sutton Heath, where Cotterill lived with his partner Debbie Cotterill-Williams.

Prior to the visit there had been an exchange of threatening texts and phone calls between Mr Hunt and Cotterill after Ms Cotterill-Williams found text messages on Cotterill’s phone between him and Ms Harvey.

Ms Harvey had decided to deliver a card wishing Ms Cotterill-Williams luck in her relationship with Cotterill and was driven to Sutton Heath by Mr Hunt, who she’d been in a 13-year relationship before they split up seven years ago.

Giving evidence, she said that after she left the card at the front door Mr Hunt had used a baseball bat that had been in the back of the car to bang on windows of the property and she also saw him throw a scooter on to a roof.

Cotterill, who was accused of stabbing Mr Hunt seven times, said in his evidence that earlier in the day Mr Hunt had threatened to shoot him and he had taken that threat seriously.

He claimed that Mr Hunt had hit him over the head with the baseball bat and had then taken his head in his hands and bit his nose.

The defendant said he was “petrified” during the confrontation and said a fatal stab wound to Mr Hunt’s chest happened when Mr Hunt’s former partner Stephanie Harvey jumped on his (Cotterill’s) back, “propelling” him forward causing the knife to enter Mr Hunt’s chest.

However, the prosecution has suggested he has changed his account to fit the evidence.