Triple axe killer was high on drugs

A MAN who hacked to death three friends with an axe during a 24-hour killing spree was jailed for life yesterday.

Alan Hobbs, 32, who had been taking drugs and had been friends with all three victims, killed Gillian Harvey, 30, shortly after having sex with her at a flat in Slough, Berkshire. The two other victims, who later visited the flat separately, were tied together and kept alive, one of them overnight, before being murdered with the axe and knives.

Police only discovered the grisly scene a week after the killings last August when Ms Harvey's mother reported her daughter missing.

The two men killed, Peter Smith, 31, and Ian Brown, 36, were both lovers of Ms Harvey, who had learning difficulties and was a volunteer worker at a charity shop.

Mr Justice Blofeld, sitting at Reading Crown Court, gave Hobbs - who admitted all three murders - three life sentences and said he had appeared to show no remorse for the "three apparently motiveless crimes". He said: "I find these matters inexplicable," and called Hobbs' conduct "extremely wicked" and his behaviour "extremely callous". He added that Hobbs should serve a minimum of 20 years in jail before being considered for parole.

Adrian Redgrave QC, for the prosecution, said: "It was over the weekend of August 28-29 that this accused murdered three friends. He did so over a period of about 24 hours, all in the same house in Slough in circumstances of almost unimaginable savagery and callousness."

Hobbs, who had been high on amphetamines and had been drinking, was thought to have got into an argument with Ms Harvey after having sex and attacked her with a chisel on 28 August. He later killed her with an axe. She suffered stab wounds to her back, head, neck and face. Her skull was also fractured.

Later in the afternoon Ian Brown, a decorator, visited Ms Harvey at the flat. He was overpowered by Hobbs, who gagged him and tied him up before going to sleep on a sofa. The following morning he made him a cup of tea before tying him up again.

Hobbs told detectives he had been planning to leave the flat that morning but as he walked out Peter Smith, a rail worker, arrived. As Mr Smith began to realise what had happened, Hobbs struck him with the blunt end of the axe and then tied him on the bed to Mr Brown. He then murdered the two men.

Mr Redgrave said: "Both men died of severe head injuries. The principal weapon was an axe found in the bedroom. This accused must have struck repeated blows to the heads of both men with all his force." As well as the axe, two bloodstained knives were found in the kitchen.

Hobbs left the flat with a computer game, a watch and a cashcard. After a massive police hunt, he was eventually arrested on 12 September. He had gone to visit his sister in Basingstoke, Hampshire, where detectives tracked him down after he used the stolen cashcard to withdraw money.

The court was told that Ms Harvey and Mr Brown lived together in the flat and that Peter Smith, a former boyfriend of Ms Harvey, was friendly with the pair. He said that Hobbs had known Ms Harvey for some years and had met Mr Brown and Mr Smith several times.

Richard Benson QC, for the defence, said Hobbs had a history of drug and substance abuse since the age of 11. Hobbs had refused to undergo psychiatric analysis.

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little