'One of life's gentlemen' - Neighbours describe killer's double life

Matthew Constantinou

Matthew Constantinou - Credit: Facebook

A man described as "one of life's gentlemen" is paying the price for a thirst for drugs which has seen him convicted of manslaughter after a fatal fall out over a £10 cannabis debt.

Matthew Constantinou, 42, was to all intents and purposes the perfect gentleman.

Matthew Constantinou

Matthew Constantinou - Credit: Facebook

But that reputation he had built up with friends and neighbours in North Walsham is now in tatters after a jury took just over three hours and forty minutes to convict him of manslaughter.

Constantinou will now be sentenced on May 20 after being convicted over the fatal stabbing of Thomas Moore on October 2 last year.

It followed a fall out over a £10 drugs debt Constantinou owed to Ricky Marshall, one of Mr Moore's friends.

It all flies in the face of the persona Constantinou had tried to build.

Matthew Constantinou

Matthew Constantinou - Credit: Facebook

Living with his mother at her home in Antingham Drive, North Walsham, he helped her at her charity shop in the town which helped raise funds to support those with dementia.

Cherished charity store, North Walsham

Cherished charity store, North Walsham - Credit: Peter Walsh, Archant Norfolk

It was a cause close to both of their hearts after Constantinou's father passed away in February last year following a battle with Alzheimer's Disease.

He had moved in with his mum after returning from Australia about seven years ago following the breakdown of a marriage to a woman, with whom he has a young daughter who still lives down under. 

The property in Antingham Drive, North Walsham, where Matthew Constantinou lived with his mother.

The property in Antingham Drive, North Walsham, where Matthew Constantinou lived with his mother. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

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He was devoted to his mum and in 2015 became embroiled in a dispute over parking tickets given to his mother, and to him, in the town which were later overturned.

As well as helping his mum, Constantinou did favours for neighbours.

Antingham Drive, North Walsham

Antingham Drive, North Walsham - Credit: Peter Walsh, Archant Norfolk

A 72-year-old woman, who lived near to Constantinou but wanted to remain anonymous, said: “He was always polite and helpful - he was a good neighbour to me.

“If I wanted anything all I had to do was ask Matthew - he was one of life’s gentlemen.”

Another neighbour, an 83-year-old woman,  described Constantinou as a “polite young man”.

Constantinou was a customer services assistant at Lloyds Bank and worked across five branches in Norfolk, including North Walsham, and at night worked part-time at a kebab shop.

Charcoal Grill kebab shop in North Walsham, where Matthew Constantinou worked.

Charcoal Grill kebab shop in North Walsham, where Matthew Constantinou worked. - Credit: Peter Walsh, Archant Norfolk

A man with no previous convictions in this country, Constantinou only has a fine relating to a drunk and disorderly incident from his time in Australia when he threatened to spit at police.

But behind the polite public face, was a need Constantinou had developed for drugs which stayed with him from his youth right up until the fatal row in October last year.

A murder investigation has been launched in North Walsham after reports that a man was stabbed in th

A murder investigation has been launched in North Walsham after reports that a man was stabbed in the neck on Antingham Drive near Bacton Road. Photo: Casey Cooper-Fiske - Credit: Archant

A friend who used to go to school with Constantinou in Kent recalls how he "used to smoke pot" as a youngster.

It seems that habit has stayed with Constantinou ever since.

The trial at Norwich Crown Court heard how Constantinou liked to smoke “a bit of weed” and would be supplied drugs by Mr Marshall.

He said Mr Marshall would “sort me out some weed” in exchange for lifts, cash, food from the kebab shop he worked at or sometimes some shopping.

Constantinou described it as “more of an arrangement where we would both benefit from it”.

But things would ultimately sour for both of them following a £10 debt that Constantinou owed Mr Marshall for drugs.

A murder investigation was launched in North Walsham after the incident. Photo: Casey Cooper-Fiske

A murder investigation was launched in North Walsham after the incident. Photo: Casey Cooper-Fiske - Credit: Archant

It was a debt Constantinou kept putting off paying, prompting Mr Marshall, together with his friend Thomas Moore, to visit the defendant to get his money back.

But it was the threat made to tell Constantinou's mother about his drug-taking that really seemed to irk the defendant, prompting the response of "I will gut you".

It was after turning up at Constantinou's home that Mr Moore received a fatal stab wound to the neck after becoming involved in struggle with the defendant who had chased after the victim and Mr Marshall with a baseball bat.

Those living near to Constantinou were surprised to find out he had been involved.

An 83-year-old neighbour said: "I couldn’t believe it. I think we were all flabbergasted around here. I’m still surprised about it."

While a 72-year-old woman, who lived near to Constantinou, said: “I couldn’t believe it."

That shock at his arrest was mirrored by a 43-year-old who works at a shop in the town.

She said: “I was really surprised when I heard about it."

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