A man who stabbed his noisy neighbour in the heart with a fish knife in a row over her eviction has been cleared of her murder.  Paul Lyon, who is epileptic and has mental health problems, was found guilty of the manslaughter of 22-year-old Heather Dyer.

He stabbed her outside the building they both lived in on Chapel Street, St Helens, on September 23 last year.

Prosecutors claimed he deliberately plunged the knife into her heart after being driven to distraction by loud music coming from parties in the flat above him.

But he said he acted in self-defence after an argument about him getting Ms Dyer evicted turned violent.

Eleven jurors deliberated for more than 20 hours before delivering their verdicts.

They found Lyon, 45, not guilty of the attempted murder of William Taylor, 25, who was stabbed twice during the same incident, but guilty of wounding.

Lyon, who was flanked throughout the trial by mental health nurses, started to cry and stared at the floor as he was found not guilty of murder.

He was then taken back to Ashworth Hospital where he has been held since having a nervous breakdown at the start of his first trial in January.

During his trial he told jurors how he used a sharp fish filleting knife to prune flowers in his garden and had accidentally left it in his electricity meter box on the day of the killing.

He came home from the pub on September 23 last year to find another party going on and stepped out for fresh air at around 2.40am.

It was then that friends of Heather Dyer started shouting at him for complaining about the noise that meant she was due to be evicted, and one threw beer at him.

He said: ‘I felt a tug on me and went forward. I think I landed on my hands and knees. I tried getting up, I was scared.

‘I thought I was going to start getting kicked. I started swinging my arms forgetting I had the knife in my hand. I realised something had happened. I started to say sorry.’

Judge Clement Goldstone QC thanked jurors for conducting what had been an ‘obviously distressing exercise’ before adjourning for sentence on October 15.