A TEENAGER who copied TV series Breaking Bad by stabbing a man in the head before trying to dissolve the body in acid has been jailed for 23 years.
George Knights, 19, made the sick confession that he was inspired by the crime series after plunging his dad’s Royal Marine commando dagger 16cm-deep into the skull of 38-year-old Stephen Chapman in October 2020.
He then used a neighbour’s plastic wheelie bin to dump the body before dousing it in six bottles of high sulphuric concentrate drain cleaner.
Knights had previously told a jury he had the ready supply of acid from his attempts at manufacturing amphetamine at his home in Rochester, Kent.
The 19-year-old was sentenced to a minimum of 23 years in prison at Maidstone Crown Court.
At the sentencing hearing, the court was told, the copycat killer had also plotted to kidnap the daughter of a “well-known fashion tycoon.”
Notes including names, addresses and phone numbers of his intended victim and her family were found on his arrest, together with a police uniform.
Prosecutor Caroline Carberry QC told Maidstone Crown Court, Kent, that the abduction and ransom plot was “no idle fantasy”, and provided support that Knights poses a high risk of danger to the public.
The court heard Knights also had a propensity for carrying knives and had spoken to a friend the night before the brutal killing about wanting to “hurt someone and rob them” of £2,500 – the exact amount of cocaine Mr Chapman had agreed to sell the teenager when they arranged to meet at Knights’s home in Rochester, Kent.
Knights, who took insulin as part of his steroid-taking cycle, told his pal he could use it to inject his victim as it would “cause a heart attack and kill without leaving a trace”.
At his trial, his lifestyle was described as “bizarre and stranger than fiction”, focusing on using, making and selling both prescription and illegal drugs.
He even used the name of Breaking Bad’s lead character Walter White – who himself made crystal methamphetamine – as a DVLA online account password reminder.
The jury also heard that having murdered forklift driver Mr Chapman, Knights left the acid-soaked body head-first in the bin in the conservatory at his home in Delce Road to go out partying with friends.
He not only filmed himself bingeing on drugs and alcohol – boasting he would play the footage to his “new friends in jail” – but also briefly returned home to take bizarre photos of Mr Chapman with his feet holding the bin lid ajar.
The badly-decomposing body was found two days later, still with the double-edged military dagger in his head, after his desperate family had broken into Knights’s home.
Knights, who has a dagger entwined with a snake tattooed on his neck, had denied murdering Mr Chapman but was unanimously convicted in June.
At the time, the teenager was said to be leading a “bizarre, out of control existence” focused on using, producing and selling steroids, prescription medication and his own self-made amphetamines labelled as a “Superhuman Labs” product.
On arrest, Knights tested positive for a staggering 13 drugs, including ecstasy, amphetamine, cocaine, Zanax, diazepam, and a cocktail of steroids.
Ms Carberry told the jury: “George Knights’s behaviour throughout 2020 was stranger than fiction.
“This was a young man who inhabited a universe where he had set up his own amphetamine production at home, where a plan to hurt, to rob and to kill came worryingly very easily to him. This was no fantasy world.
“George Knights was living a life where his primary focus was on taking drugs, making drugs and selling drugs. He also had an unhealthy fascination with knives.
“The robbery of Stephen Chapman was for drugs and in the course of that he killed Mr Chapman.
“This was just part of the very bizarre existence George Knights had carved out for himself at that time.”
Giving evidence, Knights, who left school before taking his GCSEs but spoke of wanting to become a “self-employed stocks and shares trader”, said he believed the only way he could “get rid of” Mr Chapman’s body was to copy the infamous Breaking Bad episode.
He told the jury: “I watched Breaking Bad and in my madness, at that point, I thought that the only way I could get rid of him was to do what they did in that film. It was the only thing I could think of.
“I looked up on my computer what acid it was and it was sulphuric acid, which is what I had used in an attempt to make amphetamine, and what kind of plastic you have to put it in.
“The wheelie bin was the right plastic. I got it from down the road…I brought it back to the house and put it in the conservatory.
“I put it on its side…Then I pushed and pulled Ginger into the wheelie bin. While I was doing that his shoes came off.
“Obviously I wasn’t thinking straight at all. I didn’t put a gas mask on or anything like that. I got acid which was already in the house and poured it on top in the bin until I couldn’t breathe anymore.
“Then I shut the conservatory doors and I left…..I shouldn’t have done what I did but I wasn’t thinking rationally at that point in time.”
Detective Superintendent Gavin Moss said: “Throughout this case Knights has shown no remorse or empathy for his actions.
“He is a callous killer who robbed Stephen Chapman of his life, and on top of this his attempt to dispose of the body deprived Mr Chapman’s family of an opportunity to see him for a final time.
“He prevented Mr Chapman from having a future with his family and put them through the ordeal of a trial.
“He has been devoid of human emotion throughout this case and is a clear and obvious danger to the public.”