Shropshire Star

Man who murdered rugby player outside nightclub jailed for life

Jake Hill hid a hunting knife in a hedge by a nightclub then used it to attack multiple people outside.

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Jake Hill

A carpenter who stabbed four people with a knife and then murdered a man who intervened to protect others has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 28 years.

Jake Hill, 25, attacked five people in around 20 seconds outside the Eclipse nightclub in Bodmin, Cornwall, shortly after 3am on April 30 last year.

Truro Crown Court heard Hill had stashed a serrated hunting knife in a hedge nearby before entering the club, removing it again as people left at closing time.

Hill then joined a fight between 15 people – stabbing four people before rugby player Michael Riddiough-Allen, 32, took hold of him in an attempt to protect others from being attacked.

Mother-of-two Tia Taylor, 22, punched and kicked Mr Riddiough-Allen, continuing after Hill inflicted a fatal stab wound to his abdomen. Mr Riddiough-Allen died at the scene.

During his trial, Hill claimed he acted in self-defence but a jury rejected this and convicted him of one count of murder and four counts of wounding with intent.

Taylor admitted charges of manslaughter and perverting the course of justice when their trial was underway. A third defendant, Chelsea Powell, 22, was convicted of perverting the course of justice.

Stabbing in Bodmin
Jake Hill joined a fight between 15 people, stabbing five people including Michael Riddiough-Allen, who died at the scene (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Mrs Justice Cutts sentenced Hill to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 28 years. The judge jailed Taylor for three years and Powell for 15 months.

She paid tribute to Mr Riddiough-Allen as a “man of exceptional qualities” who had stepped forward to protect others despite seeing that Hill had a knife.

The judge said: “Mr Allen’s death and the wounding of four other individuals all came about, Jake Hill, because of your decision to carry a knife on the evening in question.

Jake Hill court case
Tia Taylor, 22, received a three-year prison sentence for manslaughter and perverting the course of justice following the death of Michael Riddiough-Allen (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA)

“This is a paradigm case of the dangers of carrying knives. There is no justification for carrying any type of knife in a public place.

“The knife you carried was particularly dangerous. It was a hunting knife with an extremely sharp cutting edge and a serrated area along the top of it. You had absolutely no reason to be carrying such a knife.”

The court heard Hill had bought the knife a few days before he used it, wearing it in a sheath on a belt diagonally across his chest.

“You liked the feel and image of being a hard man,” the judge told Hill. “In that, you were wholly misguided.”

Jake Hill court case
The serrated hunting knife used by Jake Hill was found in the extractor fan of a kitchen (Devon & Cornwall Police/PA)

Hill, Taylor and Powell went to the nightclub on an impromptu night out on April 29 2023.

Mr Riddiough-Allen had been celebrating his rugby team’s end-of-season party with friends, with the group going on to the nightclub.

A fight broke out, which did not involve Mr Riddiough-Allen or Hill, after the club closed at around 3am on April 30 and people made their way outside.

CCTV cameras captured Hill running across the road and looking for his knife in the hedge before heading straight into the fight with Taylor and Powell following behind.

Michael Allen death
Michael Riddiough-Allen, who was celebrating with his rugby team on the night of his death, was described as a gentle giant who was ‘loved and adored by all who knew him’ (Family handout/Devon & Cornwall Police/PA)

Shouts of “I’ve been stabbed” were heard a short time later, with bleeding victims running for help.

Liam Phillips was stabbed in the abdomen by Hill, with Ryan Burger stabbed in the thigh. Burger survived the injury after a bouncer applied a tourniquet around his leg.

Hill also stabbed Rhiannon Tompsett in the leg and Ryan Parsons in the chest.

Jake Hill court case
Jake Hill, 25, was jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of 28 years in prison (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA)

The judge said: “The jury, rightly in my view, concluded that you were not acting in self-defence. No-one else had a weapon.

“There could be no justification for pulling your knife and deliberately, as the jury found, stabbing four people.

“Mr Allen was described by all who knew him as a gentle giant. He was loved and adored by all who knew him.

“His willingness to help others was evident to the end. Mr Allen was not involved in the disorder that night but it is clear from the CCTV footage that he could see that you were.”

Jake Hill court case
The court heard that Jake Hill tried to flush away the knife before hiding it in a kitchen vent, where it was later found by police (Devon & Cornwall Police/PA)

“He saw you with a knife in your hand. It is highly likely he heard people scream they had been stabbed.

“Mr Allen didn’t jump back or run from you. He stepped forward and took hold of you in what I am sure was an attempt to prevent you from hurting anyone else.”

Taylor punched and hit Mr Riddiough-Allen as he lay on the floor, including after Hill had moved away.

Hill, Taylor and Powell then left the scene. He tried to flush the knife down the toilet at Taylor’s home before hiding it in a kitchen vent.

Jake Hill court case
Bodyworn video showed police arresting Jake Hill, who had been hiding in the loft at the home of Tia Taylor (Devon & Cornwall Police/PA)

Armed officers surrounded the house at about 6.30am and called for those inside to come out. Taylor appeared and denied there was anyone else inside.

Hill, who had been hiding in the loft, fell onto the landing when police were inside and was arrested.

In a witness statement to the police, Powell provided false information about what had happened that night. She was acquitted of charges of murder and manslaughter by the jury.

A statement from Mr Riddiough-Allen’s sister, Rebecca Dunstan, was read to the court.

She said: “We are incredibly proud of Michael. His nature to protect others was evident. There’s not a moment that goes by that we don’t think about him.”

Speaking after the case, Detective Inspector Ilona Rosson from Devon and Cornwall Police, said: “Michael Riddiough-Allen tried to protect those around him and disarm a man who felt the need to carry a knife.

“In doing so, he tragically lost his life. This case highlights the devastation and irreversible damage that carrying and using a knife can cause. No good can come from it.”

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