Vincent Sparkes sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty of murder of Swindon man

By Barrie Hudson - 13 May 2024


A man has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 17-and-a-half years after being found guilty murder.

Today - 13 May - at Bristol Crown Court, Vincent Sparkes, 44, of Station Road, Swindon, was found guilty of the murder of Neil Bambrick, 41, who died after being stabbed in Broad Street on 11 July last year.

He was sentenced during the same hearing.  

At around 8.55pm on July 11, Sparkes and Mr Bambrick were involved in an altercation in the street when Sparkes butted Mr Bambrick before pulling out a knife and inflicting a single wound to his chest.

Mr Bambrick, who was not carrying a weapon, was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries. Despite the best efforts of the emergency services, he died in the early hours of the following morning in hospital.

A cordon was set up at the scene and following swift local enquiries by officers, Sparkes was arrested that evening at his friend’s house.

He was initially arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm, but was further arrested on suspicion of murder the following morning following Mr Bambrick’s death.

Sparkes pleaded guilty to manslaughter, claiming the fatal wound was an accident. However, the jury rejected this and found him guilty of murder.

In a statement following the verdict, Senior Investigating Officer Detective Chief Inspector Phil Walker said: “Firstly, I’d like to offer my condolences to Neil’s family and pay tribute to them for their conduct during the investigation and court process – I hope this verdict brings some comfort to them.

“This case again shows the tragic consequences of carrying a knife.

“In his interview, Vincent Sparkes described using the knife he was carrying in ‘the heat of the moment’ during an argument.

“Sadly, this split-second decision has cost Neil his life and it demonstrates that had Sparkes not made the decision to carry the knife in the first place, this argument would never have led to Neil’s death.

“Simply put, Neil would still be alive if Sparkes did not have a knife that day.

“The verdict comes during a week of activities around ‘Sceptre’ – which is a national knife crime initiative focusing on the reduction of knife crime.

“If you are considering carrying a knife, please think about the potentially life-long consequences of your actions.”

Five permanent knife surrender bins are in place around Swindon where knives and bladed articles can be handed in anonymously.

These are emptied frequently and have been specially designed with safety and security in mind, preventing them from being broken in to.

The bins have been strategically placed outside buildings in five key community areas in the town: Broadgreen Community Centre, Pinetrees Community Centre in Pinehurst, Walcot Dome, Liden Library and Meadowcroft Playing Fields.

Another permanent surrender bin was installed today at the Wiltshire Football Association HQ in Green Lane, Devizes – the first outside Swindon.

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