Gloucestershire

Gardener David Hall jailed for murder of Dennis Plater

David Hall
Image caption David Hall killed Dennis Plater in his kitchen at his home in Stroud

A homeless gardener has been jailed for life after admitting the murder of an elderly customer in Gloucestershire.

David Hall, 48, stabbed Dennis Plater, 82, more than 40 times in an attack at his home in Stroud in November 2014.

Bristol Crown Court heard Hall lost his temper after Mr Plater hired another gardener due to his unreliability.

Hall will serve at least 18 years in prison but was told by the judge he may never be released.

The court was told Hall had been paid £5 an hour to look after Mr Plater's landscaped garden.

But Mr Plater decided to hire another gardener after Hall failed to turn up on a series of Mondays that had been agreed.

The court was told Hall visited Mr Plater after receiving an "apologetic" message on his mobile, on 5 November 2014, telling him of the loss of his job.

He stabbed him to death in his kitchen then "cleared out" more than £100 in cash from Mr Plater's home.

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Image caption Dennis Plater's body was discovered by a neighbour and the new gardener

Hall left the property, using Mr Plater's key to lock the front door, then threw the murder weapon and key into a nearby canal.

Mr Plater's body was discovered the day after by his neighbour and new gardener, who used a spare key to gain entry.

Hall caught a train to Portsmouth where he had moved a month earlier and was arrested by police in Southsea.

At a previous hearing Hall had admitted murder, but denied it was for financial gain saying he lost his temper after Mr Plater refused to shake his hand.

Judge Neil Ford QC ruled Mr Plater's killing was not financially motivated but described the attack as "an extraordinarily callous act".

Jailing him for life he told Hall: "I have no doubt that when you commenced that attack you intended to kill him."

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