Pensioner, 75, admits killing man 26 years ago in city centre stabbing attack

A 75-year-old pensioner has today admitted killing a man in a city centre attack 26 years ago.

Geoffrey Strike today pleaded guilty to manslaughter following the death of Jason Comerfield, 21, who was killed in Manchester in February 1994.

Jason was fatally stabbed to the neck after a night out.

Strike had been due to stand trial for murder, but today pleaded guilty to manslaughter, on the grounds of diminished responsibility, the Manchester Evening News reports.

He has remained in a mental health facility since 1997, after being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

Strike was charged in February after he was identified using advanced DNA techniques used by Greater Manchester Police’s cold case unit.

When the murder charge was read to him at Manchester Crown Court, Strike said today: “Not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter.”

Jason had been walking home from a night out, on February 25, 1994, when he came into contact with Strike.

The details of their interaction remain unclear but Strike killed Jason after attacking him with a knife.

The weapon used to attack Jason was recovered.

But it was more modern DNA technology which provided the key breakthrough in identifying Jason’s killer.

His previous convictions involving knives, and the fact Strike lived close to the scene of the killing, were also factors which led GMP to him.

Strike has been detained in Prestwich hospital, a secure mental health unit, since 1997 after being transferred from prison.

Jason’s brother was in court to watch on as Strike admitted the killing.

His parents have both died and went to their graves without learning who killed their son.

Strike’s barrister Charles Garside QC told the defendant has a history of mental health problems.

He has also previously committed ‘low level offences which involved knives’, the court was told.

Strike will be sentenced in December.

Adjourning the case, the judge, Mr Justice Hilliard, told him: “Mr Strike, as you have heard, the prosecution have accepted your plea of guilty to manslaughter, so there won’t be a trial.”

The judge ordered further psychiatric reports to be drawn up for the hearing.