Family win compensation for son's death

By Annie DavidsonTHE father of a murder victim has spoken of his relief after winning a fight for compensation over his son's death.Terry Chant's son, Justin, was tortured and forced to live in a cupboard by his flatmate, Stephen Sullivan.

By Annie Davidson

THE father of a murder victim has spoken of his relief after winning a fight for compensation over his son's death.

Terry Chant's son, Justin, was tortured and forced to live in a cupboard by his flatmate, Stephen Sullivan.

His emaciated corpse was found by police in a flat in Thorpe-le-Soken in November 2000.


You may also want to watch:


After Sullivan was jailed for life for Justin's murder, his parents, Terry Chant and Jean Jackson, applied for compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

But their bid was refused because Justin had a criminal record for theft, although his parents argued he had been forced to steal by Sullivan, who exerted incredible power over people and was compared to cult leader and mass murderer Charles Manson by a forensic psychologist.

Most Read

Mr Chant appeared yesterday before an independent panel to appeal against the decision and was granted 70% of the recommended payout.

He will receive £3,850 and Mrs Jackson will receive the same amount with a small extra allowance for Justin's funeral expenses.

Mr Chant, of Minster-on-Sea, Kent, said last night: “In the end, justice and conscience prevailed. It is a victory for us. Justin's name has been cleared.

“He was branded a thief, but he was never a thief. He was not bought up that way. He only did it because of Sullivan.”

He added: “We are pleased with the 70%. Justin's convictions added up to 29 points and CICA rules are that anyone with more than 10 should not be compensated. So for them to give us 70% means Justin's name has been cleared.

“A lot of people would have given up, but my son paid the ultimate price and I don't see why anyone should brand my son a criminal. He was not a criminal.”

Justin Chant was aged 24 when his skeletal body, weighing just four-and-a-half stone, was found at the flat in Byng Close, Thorpe-le-Soken, by police officers in November 2000.

Sullivan was found guilty of murder and false imprisonment in December 2001 and jailed for life. He later lost an appeal against his convictions.

Two other people, who also lived at the flat, were cleared of murder, manslaughter and false imprisonment.

Justin grew up in Dagenham and had a younger brother, Wayne. He was befriended by Sullivan, but was later abused and tortured before eventually being forced to live in the cupboard that measured 20ins by 20ins.

Sullivan's trial at Chelmsford Crown Court was told he had exerted complete control over people and his own sisters and mother lived in fear of him.

The CICA said it did not comment on individual cases.

annie.davidson@eadt.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter