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Murderers sentenced to life in prison for Houghton Regis triple stabbing


Two men who unleashed a violent attack on a group of friends which left two people dead and another seriously injured have been sentenced to spend at least 72 years in prison.


Nicholas Papworth and Anthony Bennison stabbed and ran over their victims during 27 seconds of “carnage” in Houghton Regis in November, leaving Adam Fanelli, 39, and Patrick Howard, 27, dead and a third man seriously injured.


A brief altercation in a pub sparked the incident which spilled out into the streets, with the three victims stabbed multiple times while Papworth and Bennison attempted to use their cars as weapons.


Papworth, 33, and Bennison, 25, were found guilty of 12 offences including murder and attempted murder following an eight-week trial at Luton Crown Court.


Today (Thursday) both Papworth, of Hillborough Crescent, Dunstable, and Bennison, of no fixed abode, were handed life prison sentences to serve a minimum of 34 years and 38 years behind bars respectively.


You can find out more details about the case on our website or through this video on YouTube.


We welcome today’s outcome as justice served to two extremely violent and senseless murderers.


While I hope today’s outcome provides some sense of justice and closure, the loved ones of those who lost their lives will no doubt carry the sadness and trauma of these shocking events in Tithe Farm Road for a very long time. Our thoughts and support remains with them.


The level of violence used in this attack is among the worst and most shocking things I have seen as a detective and anyone capable of such atrocious actions has no place in our society.


These men have changed the lives of three families forever, the trauma of which we know has rippled across many others within the wider community in Houghton Regis.


I would once again like to extend my thanks to the wider community for supporting our investigation and standing against such violence and devastation.


Violence and carrying knives will only have bad and often devastating consequences that can rip communities and families apart.


We can all play our part in challenging these misguided attitudes and send a clear message that violence is never part of the solution.


We here at Bedfordshire Police are determined to play our part in tackling knife crime, and you can find out more about our work in this area through this dedicated page on our website.


While recorded incidents of serious violence are down over the past 12 months compared to the previous year, this case demonstrates the heart breaking consequences that can come from knife crime and other forms of serious violence, which will leave long lasting trauma among the family and friends of those involved, the wider community, as well as the emergency services who responded.


I would particularly wish to highlight the Bedfordshire Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU), which works closely with police, councils, healthcare providers and other agencies across the county in taking a public health approach to serious violence, treating it as a preventative issue that can be cured through targeted interventions.


This includes funding and coordinating prevention and early intervention projects for young people such as sports and other leisure activities, a full list of which is available via their website.


The VERU also has a dedicated Youth Intervention Specialist team, which works directly with young people and their families who are involved in things like gang activity or at risk of exploitation. You can find out more information about the work of the VERU via their website.


Finally, we would also ask for your help and support in spreading anti-knife crime and violence messages. We have collated a bank of communications assets such as posters, leaflets and social media materials, which we would encourage you to share across your channels and with your networks.


Thank you for your ongoing support. Tackling violence and exploitation is everyone’s business and we greatly value your assistance in keeping our communities safe.


Detective Chief Inspector Sam Khanna

Bedfordshire Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit

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