A coin collector who stabbed a fellow enthusiast to death before stealing his collection and attempting to blow up his home has been jailed for at least 30 years.
Danny Bostock, 33, broke into Gordon McGhee’s flat and knifed him at least 14 times when he awoke, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
Bostock was “cool-headed enough” after the murder to search McGhee’s flat for the coin collection, which included limited edition Beatrix Potter 50p pieces, Judge David Goodin said.
In a bid to destroy evidence, Bostock then tried to trigger a gas explosion by switching on the gas cooker and lighting a dishcloth; however, the cooker did not ignite.
A jury found Bostock guilty of murder and of reckless endangering life through attempted arson earlier this month.
Judge Goodin jailed him for life for the “savage” murder on Tuesday and said he must serve 30 years in prison before he can be considered for release.
During the trial, witnesses described McGhee as a “generous man” and said Bostock knew of this generosity as McGhee had given him some of his personal coin collection.
Addressing Bostock, Judge Goodin said: “He gave you one, two or three of them – duplicate coins of which he had more than one – in recognition of your own interest in that area so you could have it for your own collection.
“When he did that, sparking your immediate and keen interest, he sowed the seeds of his own destruction at your hands.
“You decided you could have that collection then in the early hours ... you went after it.”
The judge added: “This was a murder done for gain.”
A neighbour found McGhee, 52, dead in the bedroom of his flat in Colchester, Essex, on 22 August last year.
A half-burnt dishcloth was left in the hallway following what the judge described as Bostock’s ”calculated attempt to destroy the crime scene”.
Judge Goodin said Bostock placed the lives of neighbours “at grave risk” by trying to blow up the flat.
Police said DNA on the dishcloth matched Bostock’s, and that trainer prints at the scene were linked to him.
His DNA was also found on a ripped package used to store McGhee’s collectable coins, a large quantity of which were missing. The stolen coins have not been recovered.
Bostock, of Berberis Walk, Colchester, had convictions for 44 previous offences, including rape.
In a victim impact statement, Toni Smith, whom McGhee regarded as his daughter, said she was “paralysed by shock” and “heartbroken” when told of his death.
Prosecutor Andrew Jackson said the theft of the coins “added to [the] heartbreak” for Ms Smith and her mother as the coins were “precious heirlooms to them that cannot be replaced and … Gordon had talked about passing that collection on to Toni”.
Alison Levitt QC, mitigating, said the murder was not pre-meditated but happened “when something went terribly wrong during the course of this burglary”.
Bostock did not go to the flat armed with a knife, she added.
Additional reporting by Press Association