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Launceston man jailed for murdering drinking buddy

Launceston man jailed for murdering drinking buddy

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 6:30pm 18th September 2017. (Updated at 8:50am 19th September 2017)

A Launceston man who murdered a drinking buddy after going for fish and chips has been jailed for life.

28-year-old Thomas Norman was sentenced to a minimum of 17 years in prison after the death of 48-year-old Charles MacDonald in March.

Norman, of Town Mills Close, was convicted at Truro Crown Court on Monday after beating Mr MacDonald to death in what police described as a "furious assault".

He had claimed he acted in self-defence after being attacked, but a jury was told Norman didn't raise the alarm until after lunchtime.


Truro Crown Court heard how the pair had spent time together on the evening of 8th March.

They were spotted on CCTV visiting a local fish and chip shop and store, before they went to Norman's flat in Town Mills Close, where they drank and took selfies.

Police got the call around 1pm the following day, where officers found Charles's body 'covered in cuts and bruises'.

He had widespread injuries to his face, arms, hands, chest, back and legs, as well as 17 fractures to his ribs.

Norman alleged that he had been attacked by Mr MacDonald and had struck back having lost control of himself.

The court, however, was told the injuries would have required some force.

Many were defensive wounds and were consistent with Mr MacDonald being repeatedly stamped on or kicked while lying on the floor.

The court was told he died due to the injuries inflicted to his neck and head where Norman may have either tried to strangle his victim or possibly used a weapon.


Norman was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder, after police decided his story didn't add up.

They say Mr MacDonald’s injuries did not corroborate his account and that Norman also had cut and swollen knuckles, as well as blood stains on him.

The court heard that despite Mr Norman suggesting the incident took place in the early hours of the morning, he did not call the emergency services until around 1pm.

Instead, he spent a number of hours in the flat with the body before making phone calls - claiming he acted in self-defense.

He then told his mother that Mr MacDonald had left the flat and then broken back in and attempted to sexually assault him.

In the struggle, Mr MacDonald fell back and was knocked out after hitting his head.

The prosecution dismissed the explanation, questioning why Norman did not raise the alarm after being ‘attacked’ or even attempting to leave the flat after such as assault. He said he had fallen asleep.

Norman had denied the offence but was found guilty of the murder of Mr MacDonald, following a week-long trial at Truro Crown Court.

launceston suspicious death

Detective Chief Inspector Jo Hall, senior investigating officer, said: "We welcome the sentence in this case. This was a brutal assault by Norman on a man described by friends as a gentle soul. He had only lived in Cornwall for a short time having moved from Scotland around a year before.

"I would like to praise the team of detectives from the Major Crime Investigation Team who have carried out a detailed and thorough investigation to disprove Norman’s lies.

"Our thoughts are with Mr MacDonald’s family at this difficult time. While today’s sentence cannot bring Charlie back we hope that it brings some comfort to his family that justice has been done.

"The family have been left absolutely devastated by what has happened but have acted with the utmost dignity and have fully supported the police investigation. I would like to thank them for their support".

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