Homeless man who confessed to murder to get off the streets is jailed

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Image source, Met Police
Image caption, Anthony Kemp told police he would rather spend his last years in prison than sleep on the streets

A homeless man who walked into a police station to admit to a killing he committed almost 40 years ago has been jailed for life for murder.

Anthony Kemp was 21 when he bludgeoned Christopher Ainscough with a marble ashtray after they met on a night out in London in December 1983.

Now aged 59, Kemp confessed to the killing in July, telling police "I'm not going to sleep on the streets."

He was sentenced at the Old Bailey to a minimum of 15 and a half years in jail.

The court previously heard Mr Ainscough, 50, had invited Kemp back to his home in Kilburn in the early hours of the morning and was on the sofa when he was attacked.

His body was found after the head waiter failed to turn up for work at a restaurant in the City.

Image source, Metropolitan Police
Image caption, Christopher Ainscough moved to London from Ireland in the 1950s

The original murder investigation was closed in 1985 when no leads were found, but was reopened after Kemp confessed to the killing.

On 28 July he turned up at Chiswick police station and began throwing stones at the window.

He then told an officer he had murdered someone 40 years ago, explaining that: "I'd rather do the last few years of my life in bang-up than sleep on the streets."

The court heard that Kemp told police he "bashed" his victim's "brains in" during an argument, but he did not know what had sparked the row.

'Brutal killing'

He retracted his confession three days later after being released on bail and blamed the murder on his accomplice from an aggravated burglary in 1988, who had killed himself in prison.

However, police matched Kemp's DNA to that left on a cigarette butt in Mr Ainscough's sitting room and he later pleaded guilty to murder.

Sentencing Kemp, Judge Mark Dennis QC said: "This was a wholly unjustified, brutal killing that led to the death of a harmless, well respected, good-natured man who had befriended you and caused you no harm."

In a victim statement read in court, a close friend of Mr Ainscough, who asked not to be named, described him as "a kind, generous, caring and funny man" who "had the extraordinary ability to get on with anybody and everybody".

"The brutality of what was done has haunted me," she said.

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