A JEALOUS man who stabbed his childhood pal to death has been jailed for life and told he will spend at least 15 years behind bars.

At Bolton Crown Court victim Laurimas Rusanov's mother, Irute Rusanover,who travelled to the UK from her home in Lithuania, wept as the Honorary Recorder of Bolton, Judge Martin Walsh sentenced 35-year-old Ricardas Jonusas for murdering her only son.

Mr Rusanov, who lived in Bolton with his partner Asta Ainiene, had helped pay for his friend Ricardas Jonusas to also come to UK.

But at a party to celebrate Ms Ainiene’s birthday, 32-year-old Jonusas, who was said to be jealous of his friends' relationship flew into a rage when he overheard raised voices between the couple.

After confronting Mr Rusanov, Jonusas grabbed a kitchen knife and plunged it into his friend’s side.

As paramedics and Ms Ainiene battled to save Mr Rusanov as he lay dying on the floor of her Mornington Road flat, Jonusas fled the scene, telling another partygoer that he wanted to go to the shops to buy vodka and coke as it would be his last.

“He knew he would be arrested by the police,” Mark Ford QC, prosecuting, told Bolton Crown Court at an earlier hearing.

Jonusas, of Balby Road, Doncaster, pleaded guilty to murder.

Ms Ainiene had moved to Bolton in 2017 and her partner, Mr Rusanov, who worked as a warehouseman, joined her in August last year.

“He and Asta were looking forward to a life together in the UK,” said Mr Ford, who added that Mr Rusanov also helped Jonusas, whose sister Raimona Jonusaite was Ms Ainiene’s best friend, move to the UK.

“However, there is evidence that beneath the surface of the relationship between the two men lurked a sense of jealousy. The defendant, it appears, was jealous of Rusanov’s relationship with Asta,” said Mr Ford.

And Judge Walsh commented that the jealousy may have played a part in Jonusas' actions.

On Friday December 13 last year Ms Ainiene hosted a small party to celebrate her birthday three days earlier.

“Initially everything seemed fine,” said Mr Ford, who added that at 10.40pm, just an hour before the killing, a photograph was taken which showed the two men with arms around each other’s shoulders.

But later Ms Ainiene said she and her partner were in their bedroom when Jonusas overheard them talking loudly.

“Asta stated there was no reason for the defendant to think that the deceased was hurting her as there had only been raised voices between them and he had never hurt her previously,” said Mr Ford.

But as they were about to leave the room and rejoin the party, Jonusas confronted Mr Rusanov and they argued.

Andrew Haslam QC, defending, said that Jonusas later claimed he had become angry after Rusanov accused him of carrying out sex acts with guards at the Lithuanian prison where they had both previously served sentences.

Jonusas raced downstairs to the kitchen, grabbed a knife and ran back to the bedroom.

“Fearing the worst Asta attempted to grab the defendant but couldn’t because he was too quick,” said Mr Ford.

Jonusas stabbed twice at Mr Rusanov, once missing him, but the second time, plunging the 18cm blade into his side almost up to the hilt. The knife punctured a lung and cut his aorta.

Jonusas was later caught on CCTV outside Morrisons supermarket demonstrating his actions to others, replaying the killing.

Mr Rusanov was pronounced dead at the scene at 12.30am despite paramedics’ efforts to resuscitate him.

Jonusas left the flat and Ms Ainiene’s brother, Vaidotas Bertavicius, who had also been at the party, caught up with him.

“Far from expressing any concern for Rusanov, or regret for his actions, the defendant bragged about stabbing the deceased,” said Mr Ford.

A police search of the area finally found Jonusas, wearing a blood stained shirt, on Nugent Street.

As he was led to the police van he was heard to say: “Nobody touch my f***ing friend, girlfriend” and in the police custody suite he repeatedly said he was “glad” and it was “f***ing good” that Mr Rusanov had died.

He claimed his father had fought in Afghanistan and taught him how to stab and alleged that Mr Rusanov had punched Ms Ainiene, although she denies this happened.

Mr Haslam said, as a result of a troubled childhood Jonusas, who is married with a wife living in Lithuania, struggles to control his emotions.

"These experiences do not excuse this horrific crime but do go some way to a better understanding of the way in which this defendant has failed to regulate his emotions," said Mr Haslam.

He added that Jonusas had looked upon Ms Ainiene, who he had also known from childhood, as a sister and is remorseful about murdering his friend.

"It is knowledge that will remain with him for the rest of his life," said Mr Haslam.

But Judge Walsh told Jonusas, who hung his head in the dock, that his background and any abusive comments which may have been made by the victim do not mitigate his actions.

"At best, it may go some way towards explaining why, fuelled by alcohol, there was an explosive loss of temper on your part," said Judge Walsh, who said that he concluded Jonusas's actions, by heading to the kitchen to grab a knife,were premeditated.

He told Jonusas: "The deceased's partner and mother have been left devastated by their loss. They survive and must deal with the consequences of your actions.

"Asta Ainiene has lost her partner and a mother has lost her only son."

Speaking after the hearing senior investigating officer Duncan Thorpe, of GMP’s Serious Crime Division, said: “This was a brutal and callous attack that was unprovoked and has ultimately robbed a man of his life, while causing immense hurt for his loved ones.

“Ricardas Jonusas must now face the consequences of this and will be locked away for a very long time to think about his shocking actions. He has had much of his future taken away from him, but nothing can compare to the life he stole away from Laurimus.

“While our investigation may be over, our thoughts and sympathies remain with the family and friends of Laurimus - we hope they can take some small comfort from justice today being served.”