James Colten is jailed for twice slashing the throat of Swansea man Gary Edwards
A MAN who murdered his friend by slitting his throat is beginning a life term behind bars today.
James Colten, 34, slashed the throat of Gary Edwards twice with a Stanley knife after the pair had a drunken argument.
Mr Edwards, 48, was found dead kneeling in a pool of his own blood at his Treboeth home.
The injuries would have left him bleeding "catastrophically" after Colten hit his right jugular vein, prosecution barrister Christopher Clee QC told Swansea Crown Court.
Colten, of no fixed address, had only been released from prison three weeks earlier, after being jailed for breaching the terms of a suspended sentence imposed after he assaulted his former partner.
Colten and Mr Edwards were living together in a third floor flat in Villa Terrace, after being introduced by a chaplain from Swansea Prison.
Mr Edwards's neighbour, Wynford Green, told police he had been drinking with the pair since lunchtime on July 25 and described Mr Edwards as being "half cut".
He said Mr Edwards was slurring his words and sat slumped on the sofa. Mr Green said before he left the pair alone, Colten had shown him the knife telling him he had it for "protection". After the attack, which took place between 3pm and 7.40pm, Colten called a number of friends, telling them he had killed Mr Edwards. He said to one: "I think I killed a man."
Colten, who admitted murder, then went to the Morris Arms pub in Brynhyfryd where he was described as "sweating profusely".
He met a friend, Philip Stott, who saw him holding the knife. He told Mr Stott: "I just cut him through the throat".
As police were called, Colten went and bought a box of beer before he was arrested in Manselton.
Alcohol tests were taken from Mr Edwards and Colten. They were both found to be more than three times the drink-drive limit.
Mr Clee told the court Colten had two previous convictions for possessing knives in public.
Colten's barrister, Elwen Evans, said the attack was not pre-meditated and admitted her client had a drinking problem.
"The defendant, taken away from the context of alcohol dependency, is a man who appears to be both articulate and intelligent and is able to express his regret and remorse for what he did," she added.
Mr Justice John Royce said Mr Edwards was "much-loved" by his family.
"This was a tragic killing that has brought tragedy to the family of Mr Edwards and no doubt tragedy to your life," he added.
Detective Inspector Mark Lewis from South Wales Police said: "Our over-riding thoughts today are with Gary's family and I hope that this guilty plea in some way helps them find closure.
"I want to thank the local community in Treboeth as well as the other witnesses who have supported this investigation from the outset."