Derby

Neighbour killer Andrew Dawson given whole life term

  • 18 July 2011
  • From the section Derby

A convicted killer who murdered two of his neighbours while out on licence for an earlier crime has been told he will spend the rest of his life in prison.

John David Matthews, 66, was found dead in his Derby flat on 25 July 2010.

Five days later Paul Hancock, 58, was found dead in the same building. The pair had been repeatedly stabbed and both were found in their own baths.

Andrew Dawson, 48, admitted murdering the two men, on the first day of his Nottingham Crown Court trial.

In sentencing Dawson to a whole life term, Mrs Justice Dobbs said "life will mean life".

'Angel of Mercy'

He had initially admitted killing both men at the flats in Waterford Drive, Chaddesden, but had denied their murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

But he changed his plea to the murder charges at the court earlier on Monday.

The jury was told the bodies of Mr Matthews and Mr Hancock were found in the baths of their separate flats.

Mr Matthews, known as Dave, had been stabbed 18 times. Mr Hancock received 22 stab wounds.

Dawson had moved into the same building just weeks beforehand.

He had gone to both victims' flats on the pretence of wanting to use their washing machines.

The court was told Dawson was given a life sentence in 1982 after admitting the murder of a 91-year-old man in his flat at Ormskirk, Lancashire - where Dawson was originally from.

He was out on licence from prison at the time of the killings in Derby.

When Dawson was arrested at Whitehaven in Cumbria he was armed with seven kitchen knives.

At his flat police discovered a notebook which bore the impression of a letter said to have been written by Dawson which confessed to one of the killings and was signed "Yours, the Angel of Mercy".

He told police he had an urge to kill, the court heard.

Det Insp Paul Callum said: "Dawson has shown no remorse for his actions and has simply sought to blame anyone he can for the direction his life has taken.

'Brutal killings'

"These were cold, calculated and savage acts. He has shown a degree of thought and planning and sought to conceal and destroy evidence where he could.

"He has stretched out this process unnecessarily for the families of those men that died for no reason and I would like to express my sympathies for the loss of their loved ones."

Probation officials insisted Dawson was handled correctly and that there had been no signs he would commit further murders.

Denise White, of Derbyshire Probation, said: "We always knew he was a difficult man but there was nothing in all the years to indicate the things that we heard in court today that in fact he was planning to kill again."

Mrs Justice Dobbs told Dawson: "These were pre-meditated and planned, brutal killings.

"Each had the misfortune of being your neighbour who had no chance."

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