Essex

Escort Michael Brennan's murder sentence reduced

Michael Brennan Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Michael Brennan was given a minimum 22-year term

A man initially jailed for life for murdering an antiques dealer has had his sentence reduced.

Male escort Michael Brennan, 24, was told he would serve at least 22 years for stabbing Paul Simons, 54, to death in Chelmsford in December 2013.

In November his conviction was reduced to manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility.

Court of Appeal judges agreed he was not a danger to the public and reduced his sentence to 15 years on Wednesday.

During his trial, Chelmsford Crown Court heard the body of Mr Simons, from Bushey in Hertfordshire, was found at a flat in Moulsham Street in the early hours of 4 May 2013.

'Genuine remorse'

Brennan, who was described as having a complex multiple personality disorder, had written a plan to kill Mr Simons, which police found on a laptop.

It described how he would stab his victim before fleeing to hide in the countryside.

Overturning his conviction for murder last year, Court of Appeal judges heard Brennan had previously been admitted to the Linden Centre mental health unit in Chelmsford.

At a re-sentencing hearing, psychiatrist Dr Gillian Mezey told the court his mental state had greatly improved since he underwent treatment in prison, and that he had shown "genuine remorse" for Mr Simons and his family.

She estimated that, with continued treatment, he would be free of his personality disorder in about five years.

"Provided he has a network of support, ongoing treatment, and monitoring, I would consider his risk to be low," she said.

Her views were supported by another psychiatrist.

Prosecution lawyers remained convinced Brennan did pose a risk to the public, however, judges disagreed.

"We have come to the conclusion that we cannot properly, on the evidence available, style the offender as dangerous, whatever the position may have been in 2013," Lord Justice Davis said.

The 15-year sentence "reflected the gravity someone has died", he added.

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