December 6 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
A man has been found guilty of the murder of 26-year old musician Thomas Brittain from Colchester following a three-week trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.
Jack Hummerstone, 18, of no fixed address, has been found guilty of murder and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
Andre Vella, 19, from Kirby Cross, was cleared on both these counts.
Both men pleaded guilty to possession of an imitation firearm with intent to commit a criminal offence.
They were further charged with aggravated burglary, to which Hummerstone pleaded guilty and to which Vella was found guilty.
They will be sentenced in two weeks, on a date to be fixed.
Tom Brittain was at a friend’s flat in Parkside Quarter, Colchester, in the early hours of Saturday, March 9, 2013 when two men broke into the property brandishing a knife and a handgun.
Mr Brittain was assaulted and stabbed.
The other people inside the flat managed to escape by locking themselves in another room but not before one man had been cut on the hand.
They called the emergency services and on police arrival, paramedics were trying to save Mr Brittain’s life.
Sadly he died at the scene. The provisional post-mortem examination result showed that he died from a fatal stab wound to the chest.
Detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate launched a murder inquiry and within a short period of time they were able to identify two men they wanted to arrest.
They took the unusual step of naming Vella and Hummerstone as wanted because they were considered dangerous.
Vella was arrested a few days later and Hummerstone was tracked down to an address in London where he was arrested in April.
Det Insp Anne Cameron, senior investigating officer, said: “Tom was a well-respected musician who spent his last few months in fear of Jack Hummerstone, resulting in Tom losing his flat, his possessions and ultimately his life.
“Jack Hummerstone and Andre Vella forced their way into a flat, containing a young family, carrying a guns and a knife.
“They had no consideration of the impact their actions would have on such young children.
“The flat owner was attacked, being stabbed on the hand and hit with the imitation gun. Tom was then repeatedly stabbed whilst he fought for his life. One of those wounds was fatal.
“This was a planned callous violent attack on a defenceless family and particularly Tom. Tom’s family have lost a much loved brother and son, for which no justice will bring him back.
“My condolences go to the family and Tom’s friends and I hope they are now able to grieve in peace, knowing that these men will be sent to prison.
“I would like to thank the witnesses who came forward to give evidence in this investigation, I appreciate this was particularly difficult for them due to the intimidatory behaviour of Hummerstone and Vella.
“However, their actions have ensured that these men are locked up and, I hope, they will take some time to reflect on the result of their brutal actions.”