At around 5.10pm on Tuesday 22 September 2020, police were called by the ambulance service responding to reports of a stabbing on Royal Oak Road, Wythenshawe. Officers attended and 45-year-old Lee Knott was taken to hospital, where he was sadly pronounced dead a short time later.
An investigation was launched and, following extensive enquiries, Tony Robertson of Atlow Drive, Wythenshawe was arrested and taken in to police custody for questioning where he was subsequently charged.
After pleading guilty to murder and threatening a person with a blade/ sharply pointed item in a public place, today (Friday 29 January 2021) Robertson was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court to life imprisonment, with a minimum of 20 years.
The court was told that Lee had just got out of a van to allow a couple, who were being threatened by Robertson, to get in. He started walking home along the road when Robertson started shouting at him before running to him, stabbing him multiple times – causing fatal injuries – and running away.
Senior Investigating Officer Duncan Thorpe, of GMP’s Major Incident Support Unit, said: “Lee was on his way home from work and selflessly allowed a man and woman who were being threatened by Robertson to get in the van he was driving to maintain their safety. As he started walking home, he was stabbed and sadly killed. His loved ones are, understandably, devastated by what happened. Throughout our investigation and this prosecution, our thoughts have remained with them and specialist officers have offered them support.
“I would like to use this opportunity to thank the members of the public who tried to save Lee’s life at the scene before emergency services arrived and also those who responded to our appeal for information and provided us with intelligence and evidence which contributed to securing today’s outcome.
“I hope this case provides Lee’s loved ones with a sense of justice and closure whilst providing members of the public across Greater Manchester with reassurance that we are committed to ensuring criminals are brought to court. Robertson belongs in prison and I hope he spends his time behind bars reflecting on his behaviour and the consequences of his actions.”
Lee’s family said: “Lee has been a wonderful person throughout his life – he is cherished as a son, brother, father and husband. He spent much of his time helping others and was simply known as a nice guy to many in the area.
“Lee had so much to offer and the pain we feel at his death is indescribable. We cannot comprehend how such a nice helpful man lost his life in such a senseless and needless way. Lee died in circumstances where he was trying to help others which is typical of his selfless approach to life.
“The man responsible has admitted his guilt and has been sentenced today. That in on way helps us to deal with our grief.
“Anger and frustration will not repair the heartache that we feel nor will it bring back Lee who we loved.
“We are now left to focus on our memories of Lee which will help us through this most difficult time.”