A MAN has been found guilty of murdering his friend on a quiet town street after a house party.

Kestutis Lekunas, 36, was convicted last week (Tuesday, March 28) at Worcester Crown Court of stabbing Nerijus Liukpetris to death on Ross-on-Wye’s Bluebell Close following a disagreement outside the defendant’s home on a Sunday morning last October.

The court heard the pair had been at a party at Lekunas’ house on October 2, and became involved in an argument after stepping outside around 9.30am.

The dispute then spilled over into violence when Nerijus assaulted Lekunas, who went back into the house and came back outside armed with a knife and delivered a fatal stab wound to Nerijus’s neck.

Detective Inspector Steve Cook of West Mercia Police, leading the investigation, said after the trial: “I’m pleased with today’s result and that justice has been done for Nerijus’s family.

“Although this was an isolated incident, it highlights the devastating impact that knife crime can have.

“The use of knives is simply not acceptable and will not be tolerated. I hope today’s case sends a clear message to those who are involved in knife crime that we can and do take action.”

Emergency services including an air ambulance were called to the defendant’s home street after reports of the attack, but Nerijus Liukpetris was pronounced dead at the scene.

A 39-year-old woman who was also arrested on suspicion of attempted murder was later released without any further action.

The “shocking” incident rocked the community last autumn, and police quickly sought to calm people’s fears.

DI Cook said at the time of the investigation: “This is a shocking incident and our thoughts go out to the family of the man who lost his life.

“I understand that incidents of this nature can be alarming, but would like to reassure the local community that this is an isolated incident and there is no wider risk to the public.

“Our officers remain at the scene and you may see an increased police presence in the area over the coming days as our investigation continues.”

Lekunas is due to be sentenced on Wednesday, April 27.