A drunken killer will serve at least 21 years behind bars for murdering his brother over a “totally insignificant” argument about a dog.
William Campbell, 26, didn’t like the way his brother, Samuel Campbell, 24, was speaking to his dog and the pair began fighting at the family home in Sunderland.
Campbell, of Allen Court, Stokesley, then pulled a knife from the kitchen drawer and stabbed his brother in the chest with force while their mum tried to intervene.
The council worker, who was convicted of murder during a trial last month, has now been jailed for life.
He was told he must serve a minimum of 21 years behind bars, a court heard.
As he was locked up, Samuel’s girlfriend, Alice Gray, a teacher, read a moving victim statement at Newcastle Crown Court.
Miss Gray said: “It has utterly devastated my life and broken my heart beyond anything I knew possible.
“I have to somehow live on without an amazing, gentle, kind man by my side.
“He was the love of my life, my best friend and he has left this world in such a violent, horrible way.
“The impact has been catastrophic. I will never forget hearing the news, I couldn’t understand my Sam was not coming back.”
Miss Gray said she had periods where she lost her voice and was diagnosed as having muscle tension dysphonia, brought on by stress and anxiety.
She worries that if it doesn’t get better she may not be able to do the job she loves, teaching.
Miss Gray has seen various counsellors but is still struggling to cope with her loss and said she wakes up with a “horrendous numb and void feeling”.
She added: “I find myself driving to Sam’s grave in the middle of the night just to sit and be beside him.”
To add to her distress, she had two false positive pregnancy tests after 24-year-old Samuel’s death.
She said: “This felt like I might have a tiny bit of Sam left but sadly that was not the case. I had to deal with the grief all over again.”
Miss Gray added: “We had an amazing, loving future ahead of us which has been ripped away from us.
“I hope I never have to come face to face with the person responsible for shattering my world.
Your actions have taken me to hell and back and will stay with me forever.”
The brothers, described as “chalk and cheese” by their mum, Carolyn Campbell, had been drinking separately in June when the argument blew up.
Campbell, who had downed the “lion’s share” of 25 vodkas, as well as lager, despite not being much of a drinker generally, told Samuel he didn’t like how he was talking to the dog, Marley – over which there had been conflict previously.
They went in the house and their raised voices disturbed their mum, who came downstairs and told them to keep the noise down.
Sentencing Campbell, Judge Paul Sloan QC said: “The argument had been over something totally insignificant but in your drunken state you became frustrated and got it into your head you had a score to settle with your brother.”
Campbell took a sharp knife out of its sheath, followed his brother back outside and ending up stabbing him in the chest in front of their mum with enough force to go through his breast bone and into his heart.
Referring to Mrs Campbell, the judge said: “She says no words could begin to express the impact your actions have had on both her and the rest of the family but as your mother, she pleads for such leniency as the law will permit.”
The court heard that Campbell has no previous convictions but a document found on his laptop indicated he had subjected his brother to violence previously.
Judge Sloan said: “It went beyond spats that can occur between brothers, involving the use of weapons resulting in injury and a former girlfriend said you previously threatened Samuel with a knife.”
The judge said Campbell’s autism had no bearing on the what he did – but his consumption of alcohol did.
He told him: “You will have to live the rest of your life in the knowledge you murdered him.
“I have no doubt you bitterly regret your actions that night and I take that into account and I note you wish to atone for what you have done.”
Nicholas Lumley QC, defending, said the brothers’ father had provided a statement saying they grew up extremely close to each other and used to share a bedroom.
The court heard Campbell has gained employment in prison, where he is a mentor and a “completely trusted prisoner” and has started studying for a degree.
Mr Lumley said: “He speaks of doing good things in his brother’s name.”