A court has heard of the moments leading up to a fatal stabbing which claimed the life of a father 20 years ago.

Michael Donnelly is accused of murdering 30-year-old Grant Byrom in Colchester on Boxing Day, 1998.

Donnelly, who was aged 51 at the time of Mr Byrom’s death, is standing trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.

The jury was sworn in yesterday with the trial got underway today.

Mr Byrom, 30, was stabbed three times, with the fatal wound entering his heart in the street outside a Colchester flat on Boxing Day 1998.

Christopher Paxton QC, prosecuting at Chelmsford Crown Court, said yesterday a confrontation between Mr Byrom and Donnelly took place outside Donnelly’s flat in Forest Road.

The court heard accounts given by friends and witnesses as to what happened in the hours leading up to Mr Byrom's death.

The jury was told during a scuffle at the former Clarendon pub, in Colchester, Mr Byrom had accidentally injured Donnelly's friend, Mark Venner, with a glass.

Although Mr Byrom apologised, Mr Paxton said Mr Venner was “angry and aggrieved.”

The court heard Mr Venner needed hospital treatment after the incident.


Mr Paxton said: “The defendant, it was clear, was close to the Venner family and was, we say, angered by what had happened.”

The jury were told that after leaving the pub in the late afternoon, Mr Byrom and two friends, James O’Connell and Sean Methven, got a taxi to a party, which was being hosted at Donnelly’s flat.


Mr Paxton said the three friends exited the taxi and saw Mr Venner’s car parked on the drive.

He added Mr Byrom, who was known as Granny to friends, wanted to attend the party to further apologise to his injured friend.

The prosecution allege the murder then unfolded quickly over a matter of minutes.

  • The trial continues.