Father's killer is jailed for life

A “COWARD” was jailed for life yesterday for murdering a defenceless father-of-three by stabbing him in the back as he walked home from a night out with friends.

A “COWARD” was jailed for life yesterday for murdering a defenceless father-of-three by stabbing him in the back as he walked home from a night out with friends.

Dean Martin, 25, will serve a minimum term of 14 years and four months before being considered for release. After that he will remain on licence for the rest of his life.

The family of his 31-year-old victim, Piers Westmore, said they were “satisfied” with yesterday's hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court.

But they added they had been given their own life sentence following Martin's brutal and drunken attack in Witham last December.

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In court, Nigel Lithman QC, mitigating, said Martin, formerly of Holly Walk, Witham, apologised for what he had done in the early hours of December 14, but realised it was “too little too late” for the bereaved Westmore family.

He said testaments from friends and neighbours showed Martin, when sober, had been a “good and caring father”, but he had drunk to excess during his teenage years.

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“That's clearly what happened on that tragic weekend,” Mr Lithman added.

Sentencing, Judge Christopher Ball, QC, said Martin, who has a previous conviction for robbery, was not a man of good character, but added: “I have read references that speak well of him and that puts him in a different light from that which I have been hearing about during this trial.

“However, this killing was as a result of a premeditation on his part to cause grievous harm to a wholly innocent man.

“He armed himself with two weapons - a broken bottle and a knife.

“He then went through the streets of Witham, having already issued threats to kill, until he found his victim, who would have done no more than ask him to go away and stop being a drunken nuisance to people enjoying a party earlier that evening.”

Outside the court, Mr Westmore's sister, Joanna, said his family had been “devastated” by the murder in Guithavon Street, but they now wanted to rebuild their lives.

She said: “Nothing will bring our loving and joking Piers back - we're the ones who have the longer sentence. Dean Martin is a cold and callous coward.”

She also revealed friends of Mr Westmore, who had been a keen footballer, had formed a five-a-side team in honour of the doting father.

“It's called Westmore United and they're winning a lot. Piers would have been proud.”

Mr Westmore, of Osbert Road, Witham, died in the early hours of December 14 after suffering a fatal seven inch knife wound through his back, heart and lung.

He had been returning home with his partner Michelle after celebrating a friend's 30th birthday party at the Crown pub in Guivathon Street.

During the evening, Martin, who had been drinking all day, had been seen “having words” with Mr Westmore.

He was told to leave the party after inviting himself in, but returned to the scene hours later full of rage.

Martin claimed he had no memory of what he had done.

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