A man behind the “brutal, horrific and savage” killing of a “defenceless” Good Samaritan has been sentenced to 16 years in prison.

East Anglian Daily Times: Police investigate the scene of a killing on Old Road in Clacton.Police investigate the scene of a killing on Old Road in Clacton.

Scott Hilling, 26, admitted the manslaughter of diminished responsibility of Kathleen Griffin at her home in Old Road, Clacton, on December 17 last year.

He had tied her up and “tortured” her by inflicting a number of small wounds with scalpel, before delivering four fatal wounds to her heart.

Ms Griffin, 57, had taken in the homeless Hilling under her roof to give him somewhere to stay.

Hilling was cleared of murder after trial judge His Honour Charles Gratwicke QC directed a jury to find him not guilty when prosecutors did not offer a psychiatrist to challenge the defence of diminished responsibility.

East Anglian Daily Times: Kathy Griffin with her son DaleKathy Griffin with her son Dale (Image: Archant)

Chelmsford Crown Court heard Hilling had a history of being sexually abused, and of alcohol and drug addiction, which led consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr David Baird to conclude he could not make a rational judgement when he committed the killing.

Hilling, of no fixed address, was sentenced back at the court yesterday.

Peter Gair, prosecuting, reminded the court of superficial wounds inflicted with a scalpel by Hilling and of some burn marks which suggested an attempt at concealing the body.

Mr Gair added Hilling had previous convictions, but mostly for theft and burglary to feed his drug habit rather than violence.

At the time of the killing Hilling was subject to a suspended prison sentence for burglary and fraud.

Simon Spence QC, mitigating, said Hilling clearly intended to kill but this stemmed from the disorders from which he suffered.

Judge Gratwicke QC said: “You admitted the manslaughter by diminished responsibility relating to the horrific and savage killing of Kathleen Griffin.

“As this case was opening nobody could have felt anything other than shock and revulsion at the manner of her killing by you. You went to subsequently say you had tied her up and tortured her.

“The pathologist noted you tried to set her on fire with lighter fluid.

“This was a simply brutal killing of a defenceless woman described as being kind-hearted and generous. And it was her kind nature and generosity that could not see you sleeping rough on the streets, and invited you into her home despite previous differences.

“You repaid that generosity and kindness by killing her in the circumstances this court has heard.

“As a result of your actions a son, a sister and their families have been left devastated. The effects of your savagery will live with them forever as they mourn her loss and try to come to terms with the void in their life.”

Judge Gratwicke QC sentenced Hilling, who appeared in the dock in a grey jumper and white shirt, to 16 years’ imprisonment. He ordered Hilling be treated in a secure hospital first, and if and when his treatment is concluded he will be transferred to prison.