A VALLEYS man who murdered his friend at a party was sentenced to life imprisonment yesterday – with the court told this was the second time Paul Mapps had stabbed a man with a kitchen knife.

“Callous” Mapps, 27, of Marshfield Road in Trinant, shook his head as he was handed a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and told by the judge he might never be released.

Only those present know exactly what happened at Mapp’s home on January 11, judge Neil Bidder QC told Cardiff Crown Court yesterday, but his motive for stabbing Ian Davies, 27, was probably an ongoing argument about the victim dating his sister.

Mapps had previously threatened to stab Davies if he harmed his sister Dawn, Judge Bidder said, adding that in the month before the attack a neighbour witnessed Mapps hold a knife to Mr Davies’ throat.

He told Mapps: “You knew that you had injured him very seriously yet you delayed calling the emergency services until you had agreed with a male friend of yours that he should dispose of the knife and back you up with a false story.

“To some extent but some extent only that was a story invented in panic, but it showed a callous lack of care for the injured man. You then fled the scene.

“Your protestations of concerns about the man you referred to as your friend were entirely insincere and were designed only to put yourself in a good light.

“I have discerned no remorse in you at all. The death of the deceased at a very young age is a terrible tragedy for his mother and father who are still alive, his family and all who knew him. He had a six-year-old son who will never see him again and will have to come to terms with how his father died.”

Mr Davies’ mother had an aneurysm following the murder and was too ill to attend her own son’s funeral, he added.

Mapps has five previous convictions for violence to the person, including a conviction for stabbing a man in the back with a kitchen knife when he was 17, the court heard.

Judge Bidder told him: “You have the record of a violent and aggressive man.”

He said Mapps drinking and taking drugs prior to the murder was an aggravating feature, as well as the fact he had fetched the knife from the kitchen to the family room before committing the crime.

“I’m not sure you intended to kill Ian Davies and that’s as much as I can say. I sentence you on the basis you intended to cause him really serious harm", he said.

"I’m sure I can reject any suggestion you were acting in self defence when you stabbed him.

"There is only one sentence I can impose and that is life imprisonment. You will serve a minimum of 20 years in jail and will only be released if you are deemed no longer a danger to the public. You may never be released.”

Peter Griffiths QC, mitigating, said Mapps was genuinely remorseful and had meant to commit GBH rather than kill Mr Davies.

He added there was a single stab wound rather than a flurry of blows, “as is often the case”.

Following the sentencing, Ian’s sister Carrie Davies said: “We are feeling relieved today knowing that some justice has been brought. It goes without saying that this has been an extremely difficult and challenging time for the family. Although today's outcome doesn't ease our great sense of loss, we can now start to move forward with our lives, and focus our efforts on looking after and supporting Caine, Ian's six year old son."

Mapps was found guilty by a majority verdict last month.