Gardener who stabbed 82-year-old man to death jailed for life

The court heard the pensioner suffered more than 40 wounds

Siobhan Fenton
Tuesday 12 January 2016 12:28 GMT
The case was heard at Bristol Crown Court
The case was heard at Bristol Crown Court (Getty)

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A gardener who stabbed an elderly customer to death has been jailed for life.

David Hall, 48, stabbed Dennis Plater, 82, more than 40 times in the kitchen of the latter’s home in Stroud, Gloucestershire in November 2014.

Bristol Crown Court heard Mr Plater had employed Hall as a gardener but let him go when he found him unreliable.

Mr Plater left Hall an apologetic voicemail explaining the situation and thanking him for his work. The following day Hall arrived at his home and stabbed him to death after hearing the news in person.

He also cleared out the man’s money, leaving just 20 pence.

At a previous hearing Hall admitted murder but denied it was for financial gain. Judge Neil Ford QC ruled that the killing was not financially motivated but that the theft had occurred after the stabbing.

He said: “You went to Mr Plater’s home and he invited you in and gave you a drink of water. Only you know what happened thereafter. You say it was when he refused to take your hand, turned his back on you and asked you to leave that you lost your temper.

“You launched a dreadful attack on Mr Plater in his kitchen stabbing him repeatedly. He suffered over 40 wounds, particularly to his head and face.

“I have no doubt that when you commenced that attack you intended to kill him. You didn’t check on him, you didn’t call for an ambulance and you didn’t call the police.

“Instead you washed your hands and wiped the knife and removed all the money you could find from that man’s home as he lay dead or dying on his kitchen floor. That was by any judgement an extraordinarily callous act.

“You gave lengthy evidence and even when you were expressly asked about it you showed not the slightest bit of remorse for your actions.

“At one stage you said you were sorry. It was wholly insincere and what was abundantly clear to me was that you were most concerned about your own predicament.”

Hall told the court that when he went to meet Mr Plater: “I lost my temper. He asked me to leave. I put my hand out to shake his hand and he just pushed it away.

“I just snapped. I picked up a knife and I stabbed him.”

Hall left the home and took a train to Portsmouth, he was arrested by police in Southsea, Hampshire two days later.

Mr Plater’s body was discovered on 7 November by his neighbour and new gardener.

Hall will serve at least 18 years in prison but may never be released.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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