Date: 15 Aug 2016
Tommy Bilton was stabbed in the back and groin in a fight at a house on the Eldon Street estate.
Tommy Bilton had been at a house party on 15 August 2016 when he was stabbed outside Stott House on the Eldon Street estate during a brawl. He had just turned 19 on 12 August 2016. He was stabbed in the groin after which he managed to stagger off to Ashton Road where he collapsed in front of a kebab shop.
A 24-year-old man was tried for his murder but found not guilty although he was convicted of wounding with intent in relation to the stabbing of another of Tommy Bilton's friends in the same melee who he stabbed in the kidney, and sentenced to twelve years. Two other men were convicted of affray. The jury took less than an hour to acquit the 24-year-old man.
The 24-year-old man said that someone else stabbed Tommy Bilton during the affray and denied being the person that stabbed him.
He also said that the other man, who he was convicted of stabbing in the kidney, had come at him with a knife but that the man had dropped it and that he had then picked it up and that the man had then fallen on it.
At the trial, the prosecution claimed that the person that stabbed the man in the kidney was the same person that stabbed Tommy Bilton.
It was heard that a cousin of the 24-year-old man had been holding weekly parties at her flat but that the previous party on 18 August 2016 had ended with a dispute between two groups. It was said then that the following week the other group of men, including Tommy Bilton and the man that was stabbed in the kidney, went back for the party and that there was later a brawl between the two groups in which Tommy Bilton was killed.
The court heard that the 24-year-old man had arrived at the house party held by his cousin sometime between 10pm and 11pm on 15 August 2016 and that he had then heard other people planning a fight over the phone and had then told most of the guests to leave. The 24-year-old man had a previous conviction for possession of a knife in public and had been on a suspended sentence at the time, and he said that he had asked the guests to leave because of that.
The 24-year-old man said that later, at about 3am, the other people that were left in the room had been discussing weapons when at about 3am the brawl broke out and that he tried to break it up.
He said that he had gone out and that during the brawl he had been hit on the ear with a bottle, for which he later needed surgery and that he had also been hit on the ankle. However, the prosecution said that they doubted that he had been hit on the ankle then as the following day he had been quite capable of running from the police and jumping over a five foot fence when he was arrested in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
The 24-year-old man said that during the brawl, the other man came at him with a steak knife and started chopping at him. However, he said that the other man then threw down the steak knife that he picked it up in a split-second decision, saying that he was drunk at the time. He said, 'It was a stupid, split-second decision and I was drunk. I shouldn't have done it. I wasn't going to leave it for him to pick up'.
The 24-year-old man said that he then caught the man in a headlock in order to 'arrest' him before the police arrived and that whilst he did so, the steak knife that he had hold of was pressed against the man's body, but said that as the man walked backwards, he stumbled and fell and that as he did so he fell on top of the knife and was stabbed in the kidney.
The 24-year-old man said that everyone then ran off in different directions and that he went off along Park Road and through Oldham town centre.
He said that the following day he went to Newcastle on a planned trip with some clothes to see his mother and family. However, the prosecution said that he was taking evidence, his clothes, to dispose of.
He said that whilst there he gave the clothes to a friend, but didn't say who he gave them to, noting that it was 'none of the prosecution's business'. After that he went to the hospital to have surgery on his ear, and whilst there he heard a nurse say that there was no one of his other known name there. The 24-year-old man said that he then left the hospital, stating that he didn't like the police as they battered him whenever they arrested him, and said that he got a taxi with the intention of going to hand himself in at a police station rather than being arrested and battered. However, he said that he ran out of money and had to call his mother to ask her to pick him up and said that before she could arrive she was arrested by the police.
The 24-year-old man said that he then hid in a garden, but that he was then found and chased by the police, during which time he jumped over the five-foot fence and was caught and arrested.
At the trial it was heard that the 24-year-old man had initially refused to answer any police questions although he had given a statement a few days later, after which time, the prosecution said, that he had had time to think up a story.
After being stabbed, Tommy Bilton was taken to the Royal Oldham Hospital by ambulance where he died later the same day from internal bleeding.
Tommy Bilton had lived in Elm Road, Limeside.