Teenager who copied Breaking Bad trying to dissolve body in acid guilty of murder

George Knights was found guilty

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A teenage killer who copied Breaking Bad and tried to destroy a man's body with acid after stabbing him in the head has been convicted of murder.

George Knights told a court he took inspiration from the US crime series after plunging his dad's Royal Marine commando dagger 16cm-deep into Stephen Chapman's skull.

Having recalled an episode from season one, the 19 year old then set about stealing a neighbour's plastic wheelie bin to dump the lifeless body and douse him in six bottles of high sulphuric concentrate drain cleaner, Kent Live reports.

In other similarities to the show, a jury heard Knights had the ready supply of acid from his attempts at manufacturing amphetamine at his home in Rochester, Kent.

He also used the name of lead character 'Walter White' – who made crystal methamphetamine – as a password reminder for an online account.

Stephen Chapman
(Image: KentLive/ WS)

Maidstone Crown Court was told the well-spoken teenager's life was 'stranger than fiction', and a judge described the killing and its background as 'extremely disturbing'.

Knights, a keen bodybuilder and cage fighting fan who had a dagger entwined with a snake tattooed on his neck just days before the killing, denied murdering 38-year-old Mr Chapman on October 23 last year.

The dad of five's decomposing body was left in the bin in the teenager's conservatory while he went out partying through the night with friends, bingeing on drugs and alcohol.

Mr Chapman was found two days later, still with the double-edged military dagger in his head, after his desperate family had broken into Knights' home.

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During their attempts to find him, the teenager had repeatedly lied to both police and Mr Chapman's pregnant girlfriend about his 'disappearance'.

The court heard the pair had met up at Knights' home at 8.40pm so the then 18 year old could buy £2,500 of cocaine from Mr Chapman, who was known as 'Ginger'.

Within minutes, Knights killed the forklift driver and then set about trying to destroy his body.

But he claimed he had acted in self-defence when he stabbed the drug dealer during a struggle on his living room floor.

He told the court he believed his life and his family were in danger from Mr Chapman and his criminal 'associates'.

But Knights was found guilty after prosecutor Caroline Carberry QC told the court the murder had been part of a premeditated plan to 'rob, hurt or even kill' Mr Chapman at a time when the teenager was leading a 'bizarre, out of control existence'.

The killing was said to have had similarities to Breaking Bad (pictured)
(Image: Daily Mirror)

The trial heard of what was described as other 'extremely worrying behaviour' in the weeks leading up to the fatal stabbing.

His dad Edward was said to be 'frustrated and at his wits end' with his son, resulting in him refusing to give Knights any more money, cancelling his credit card, and threatening to evict him if he did not change his lifestyle.

In a series of angry messages between the pair, Mr Knights described the teenager as 'a reckless wildman'.

He even warned: "You will look back one day and realise how out of control you really were."

His former girlfriend also recalled finding sulphuric acid in his fridge, and described him as being 'fascinated' with knives.

The court heard the password 'memorable name' reminder of Walter White – who a well-spoken Knights denied in court was his 'hero' – was found in on his iPhone after police managed to hack the device just a month before the trial.

Officers also discovered photos on the device of Mr Chapman's body in the bin, his feet holding the lid ajar, and a video filmed at one of two parties he attended after the killing in which he boasted: "I'll play this to all my new friends in jail."

The teenager also tested positive on his arrest for 13 drugs, including ecstasy, amphetamine, cocaine, prescription medication Zanax and diazepam, and a cocktail of steroids.

The acid-doused body of Mr Chapman posed such a risk when found that firefighters were needed to transport him, still in the bin, to the mortuary at nearby Medway Maritime Hospital, the jury heard.

Knights, who faces life imprisonment, showed no reaction to the verdict which came after almost six hours' of jury deliberation.

Sentencing will take place in September but no date was set and Knights was remanded in custody.

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