Northumberland man found guilty over death of loving grandfather
A devastated family have paid tribute to an adored grandfather killed by his daughter’s ex-partner in a confrontation.
Andrew Saint was attacked on February 23 last year by James Rutherford following claims the 37-year-old had assaulted his daughter.
The court was told Rutherford had visited his ex, Toni Saint, earlier that day when an altercation took place at her Bedlington home.
Mr Saint visited his daughter where he advised her to lock the doors and contact police.
After returning home, he told his wife Janice he was going out to buy food for his grandchild’s packed lunch, but never returned home.
Unbeknown to his family, he had driven to Rutherford’s home to confront him but the situation escalated and a fight broke out resulting in Mr Saint sustaining life-threatening injuries to his head.
Police were immediately contacted and Rutherford was arrested, claiming he threw punches in an act of self-defence after the father-of-one came at him with a Stanley knife.
When Mr Saint died in March as a result of his injuries, Rutherford was once again arrested on suspicion of his murder and later charged.
Rutherford, of Pioneer Terrace, Bedlington, maintained his actions were proportionate and has always denied murder.
Following a seven-day trial at at Newcastle Crown Court, Rutherford was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to nine years imprisonment.
In a victim impact statement, Andrew’s wife of 30 years, Janice Saint said her husband’s death had left a huge void in her life.
The statement read: “Every day I get up and have to face the fact that Andrew is no longer here.
"This is hard when we had spent pretty much every day of our married life together.
"My whole daily routine has changed since his death and I struggle every day to deal with this. I am still struggling to make sense of it all.
“Whatever sentence James Rutherford gets will never compensate me for the loss of my husband, the loss of a father and loss of a grandfather.
“This has left me destroyed and broken, I can be going about my daily routine and all of a sudden break down in tears when I think about Andrew and our time together.”
Another statement written by Toni said: “My dad can never be replaced, he was my hero.
"He would do anything for me and my children, he doted on his grandchildren.
“I struggle to understand how someone I was so close to has caused such devastation to my family.
"Regardless of what James is sentenced to, my dad’s life has been taken. He has left his family through no fault of his own.
"As a family we wake every day trying to carry on with our lives with the devastating loss that my dad won’t be here with us.”
Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Ed Small added: “This has been an upsetting case for Mr Saint’s family and I am pleased with the jury’s verdict.
“This is a tragic incident which will forever affect the lives of all those involved.
"The impact of Andrew’s death on the Saint family has been utterly devastating and they have shown nothing but courage and dignity throughout these court proceedings.
"I hope this verdict bring them one step closer to the closure they deserve.”