Sussex

Paul Jefferies murder: Teenager jailed for Grindr-meet killing

Ben Bamford Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Ben Bamford first met his victim when he was 15, the court heard

A teenager who murdered a government tax adviser he met via the gay dating app Grindr has been jailed for life.

Ben Bamford, 18, of South Street in Crowborough, East Sussex killed Paul Jeffries in a "sustained attack".

The 52-year-old's body was found in the kitchen of his house in Coggins Mill Lane, Mayfield on 25 February, two days after his death.

Bamford was jailed for a minimum of 16 years at Lewes Crown Court after being found guilty on Tuesday.

Bamford, 17 at the time of the attack, stabbed Mr Jefferies using three knives and candlesticks.

His victim suffered more than 40 injuries, including a slashed throat and a partially severed thumb.

Bamford went to Mr Jefferies' home to have sex with him and steal money to pay drug debts of about £400, the jury at his trial heard.

Passing sentence, Mr Justice Spencer said Bamford murdered Mr Jefferies in a drug-fuelled "outburst of extreme violence", possibly over money or sex.

Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Paul Jefferies was found naked with a tea towel over his head on his blood-covered kitchen floor

As a 15-year-old, Bamford met Mr Jefferies via Grindr.

Following a break, the pair resumed contact in December 2015.

The judge told Bamford: "In total you inflicted in excess of 40 knife wounds to the head and body of Paul Jefferies with at least three knives.

"They included stab wounds to his face, close to the right eye and to his forehead where the knife scored the skull.

"The overall attack must have lasted several minutes, during which time he was conscious and mobile.

"You must have realised by the end that he was fatally injured. You placed a tea towel over his head and shoulder as he lay dying on the floor, probably because you could not bear to look at what you had done."

Bamford's account of what happened only revealed "a fraction of the truth", the judge said.

"The reality is that you must have stabbed him many times in the bedroom, in an outburst of extreme violence, as the photographs clearly demonstrate."

He said the "final merciless carnage took place" in the kitchen, adding that Mr Jefferies said and did nothing to "excuse or explain" the killing.

"Precisely what triggered that outburst we shall never know unless and until you choose to disclose it."

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