Haunting last words of dad who was stabbed through heart with screwdriver

The wife of a loving dad and husband who was murdered by a stranger as he headed home has spoken of their haunting last phone call.

Maria Duncan told the court she had called Peter to say she had bought their children’s school uniforms and that she was heading home.

He replied: “Great, I’m leaving work now so will see you soon.”

But that was the last thing he ever said to her.

Maria's victim impact statement has been read to Newcastle Crown Court as Ewan Ireland was sentenced to 15 years for the senseless murder of the popular solicitor at Eldon Square shopping centre in August.

Mr Duncan, 52, was heading for the bus home from work when he bumped into the angry teenager, who was armed with a stolen screwdriver, Chronicle Live reports.

Ireland plunged a screwdriver into Mr Duncan's chest, piercing his heart and fatally wounding him.

Maria, who was joined by around 30 family members for the hearing, listened as her words were read to the court by the crown.

Richard Wright QC said: “On August 14 my life was ruined and my sons’ lives were ruined by a senseless and unprovoked act of a stranger."

She had gone to the bus stop to pick him up but he didn’t get off.

“I called him and texted him but got no reply,” she said.

Soon afterwards she got a phone call from the police asking her to go to the RVI because her husband had been assaulted.

“I thought he had been injured but when I got to the RVI the doctor said there was nothing they could do to save him.

”He had been stabbed straight through the heart and nothing could be done to save him.

”Those words haunt me every single day.

"I had to see him to believe what I was told was true.

“I felt I had been stabbed through the heart too.”

She added: “The pain never goes away. I don’t sleep properly, I get flashbacks when I close my eyes.

”I have panic attacks in public places, especially busy shops and supermarkets.

“I avoid the town centre because I feel sick and start shaking if I go near where it happened.”

“The boys want to try to get their lives back to normal but I know it will never be normal again. They have gone back to school but are struggling.

“We are all scarred by this and will be for the rest of our lives.”

“Peter was always here supporting and guiding his boys through life and this has been snatched away from us.

”Our lives will never be the same now and we miss him every day.”

She added: "The future now is painful. Birthdays, Christmas and holidays without Peter are just unbearable.

“Peter was the perfect husband and my best friend.

”He was such a loving and caring man.

”Everyone keeps telling me Peter was always smiling and they are right. He was always smiling, he was happy, we were happy.

“That’s ended, my life has ended.”

A statement was also read from Peter’s eldest son, who we have agreed not to name at the request of the family.

He was in the city centre, with friends at the cinema, when his dad died.

It read: "As I got off the bus at the Haymarket I noticed a lot of police in the area.

“I assumed something must have happened but had no idea it had anything to do with my dad.”

”When I got home my mum and brother were waiting for me and they were very upset.

”They said there had been an incident in town and dad was not coming home.”

He added: "It’s been very upsetting, it was so difficult seeing my dad in the viewing room at hospital and going to his funeral.

”I’m concerned for my grandparents because they are in their 80s.

”This has been difficult for me, I’ve had difficulty eating and sleeping and find it hard to concentrate on my studies.

”I’ve thought about how I will miss him during key stages in our lives such as marriage and if we have children.

”I’m concerned about my mum being alone without him.”

Speaking about his dad's killer he added: “I’ve read articles in the press about Ewan Ireland and how he had been released under investigation in relation to another incident.

“I’m angry he was out and free and can’t understand why he was not locked up.

”If he had been, my dad would still be here.

“He knew what he was doing, he went out to hurt someone that day.

“My dad was everything we could hope for and he deserves justice.”

Ireland, 18, of West Avenue, Newcastle was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 15 years.

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