A grieving daughter watched in court the moment her hero father was stabbed to death as he tried to help a friend who was being robbed.
Keith Harris, 43, rushed to help pal Terrence Moore as he was being targeted by thief Michael Long.
When Keith intervened, cocaine-fuelled Long shouted 'die' as he lashed out at him with a knife three times.
Keith's heartbroken daughter April Harris-Parkes watched CCTV of the fatal attack when it was played in court.
Now as Long, 36, is jailed for life, Keith’s only daughter, April Harris-Parkes, has spoken for the first time.
She says: “I was in court to see the CCTV of the attack and I watched my dad die. It was horrific, so brutal and so evil.
“I am not in any way an aggressive person but I felt so much anger towards my dad’s killer. He sat in the dock and smirked and he showed no remorse at all.”
April, 19, from Manchester, says: “My dad had a huge heart and he was kind and caring. It does not surprise me at all that he stepped in to save some else’s life.
“I had to watch my father die.
“He was standing in the shop queue, with two bottles of milkshake in his hand, when Long launched his attack. My dad just threw himself on him and dragged him away, still holding his milkshake.
“Long stabbed him and I watched my dad stagger round the shop, bleeding heavily, knowing he was dying.
“He had only popped into the shop to buy himself a milkshake – and that decision ended his life.
“He must have been so scared and it tears me apart to think of how he suffered. But it is some comfort to me that his last act was one of selfless bravery.
“He will be remembered as a true hero.”
April’s parents split after her first birthday. Despite this, she and her dad remained close.
April says: “Dad would take me to the park after school and we’d play football. We went on holiday every summer to Wales with my grandparents – his parents - and he would spend hours on the beach with me.
“I was his only child and he adored me. He was very family-orientated.
“There were times when he moved away but he kept in touch over the phone and sent cards and presents. I saw my grandparents every weekend too.”
In 2018, Keith moved back to Whitefield, Manchester, to help care for his dying brother.
April says: “That was typical of my dad, if someone needed help, he was there. He was always doing the garden or painting the house for someone. He liked to keep busy.”
Keith had been out of work for some time but in August 2018, he got a new job as a painter and decorator and was excited to start. On his way to his first day at work with a pal, Terry Moore, Keith decided to stop at a corner shop to buy himself two Yazoo milkshakes.
That decision would end his life.
As Keith queued in the shop, Long launched a vicious attack on Terry. And when Keith intervened to save him, Long stabbed him to death.
April has struggled to move on since her father’s death. She has been unable to return to work and suffers with anxiety.
She says: “I feel dreadful for my grandparents; they lost their son in horrific circumstances and they will never recover from this. They had been due to celebrate their 54 wedding anniversary on the day of his death. Our entire family has been ripped to shreds – and for what?
“The killing was completely senseless.”
Long appeared at Manchester Crown Court last month.
Sentencing, Judge Patrick Field QC said: "Mr Harris didn't stand back and watch. Without a moment's thought for his own safety, he instinctively and courageously came to the rescue.
"This was without any doubt a selfless act of bravery on his part."
The court heard how Keith and Terry came into contact with Long, a stranger, who was said to have become angry when he was refused a cigarette by them.
He then approached Terry, who was walking behind Keith, who was already in the shop, after 7am on August 15 last year.
The judge said he was satisfied Long was trying to rob Terry.
Terry was able to back away and dodge Long's threats with the knife, until they both tumbled into the entrance of the Premier shop and a struggle ensued on the floor.
Keith, who still had his shopping in his hands, intervened to help his friend.
After stabbing Keith, Long changed his clothing and fled in a car which collided with several vehicles.
A female driver suffered a fractured sternum after his car hit her on the driver's side.
Later at the police station, a drink drive test revealed he had 117 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath in his system, the legal limit being 35 micrograms.
In interview with officers, Long said he had no recollection of events that day, because he had drunk at least 12 cans of strong lager and taken two or three grams of cocaine beforehand.
Defending, Bernard Richmond QC said Long was now 'remorseful', and that he never denied being responsible for Keith's death.
But as he was being sent down to begin his life sentence, Long gave the thumbs up to his supporters in the public gallery.
Long was found guilty of murder, attempted wounding with intent, and pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving and possessing cocaine.
He will serve the minimum term of 25 years before the Parole Board consider whether it is safe to release him.r