“Someone bought a 22 cm knife to the party."
Gurveer Bhandal, aged 19, of Wombourne, South Staffordshire, has been convicted of manslaughter after he stabbed a promising young footballer to death.
Ashley Day had just been accepted into university and to mark the achievement, he hosted a party at a rented apartment in Digbeth, Birmingham.
On June 27-28, the 20-year-old held the party and invited his friends.
On June 28, one of Ashley’s mutual friends invited Bhandal to the party.
Following noise complaints in the early hours of June 29, Ashley began asking people to leave.
Birmingham Crown Court heard how Ashley was stabbed three times in the chest and back by Bhandal.
Bhandal then fled the flat and discarded the knife, which was later found in a nearby construction site.
In court, Bhandal claimed he stabbed Ashley in self-defence.
Bhandal was found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.
Detective Inspector Jim Mahon said:
“Ashley was an intelligent, popular and bright young man.
“He had hosted a party for friends and acquaintances. He should never have come to harm as he was living the life of a young person with the world at his feet.
“Someone bought a 22 cm knife to the party. Whilst it has never been proved who did, the dangers of having this knife present has become evident from this case.
“Ashley’s family have had to endure hearing the case in court. They have handled themselves with respect and decency throughout.
“The witnesses in the case were young and extremely traumatised by what they saw. I want to thank the bravery in them coming to court and giving evidence.
“Without them, the case would have been challenging to present to a jury.
“Two young men have lost lives as a result of this.
“The suspect will now spend a substantial period of time in prison and lose a significant portion of his young life.
“We hope that Ashley’s family have seen justice served and our thoughts remain firmly with them as they continue to grieve for their brother, child and loved family member.”
Paying tribute to the footballer, Ashley’s family said:
“Ashley will be remembered for his joyous smile that always lit up the rooms he entered.
“His kind, caring and compassionate nature was shown through his warm love for his family and friends. Ashley was happiness. His well-mannered, warm aura always made you feel at ease whenever you were around him.
“Ashley was held in high regard by all who met him, and he will be deeply missed by all.
“Ashley was brought up as a Christian, received Holy Communion and was baptised. He was a great big brother and protector of his younger brother, Leon.
“He was raised by his wonderful mother, Immaculate Day, who gave him the freedom to experience life to the fullest.
“He was very passionate about football and excelled at Newport football academy, and also had a great love for music.”
“He was highly intelligent and was excited to start his undergraduate degree at Brunel University this year. Ashley was a very loving boy.
“Anyone who knew him will tell you how he exuded joy and happiness and always wanted the best for everybody.
“He hated violence and was always the first peacemaker. His smile was infectious, and his sense of humour was out of this world.
“Our hearts are bleeding for our model son.
“The agony of losing a child/brother is indescribable and the pain is insurmountable, however, fond memories of Ashley will never fade, and he will forever be close to our hearts.
“Farewell, beautiful Ashley, your stars go down to shine upon some further shore and you will be loved forevermore.”
Bhandal will be sentenced in January 2024 on a day yet to be confirmed.