Man admits murder in Clacton stabbing

Police examining a scene in Clacton the day after the murder.

Police examining a scene in Clacton the day after the murder. - Credit: Su Anderson

A man has pleaded guilty to murdering his ex-girlfriend’s father in a late night attack in Clacton.

Darren Gilbert, who has admitted murdering James Gregoire in Clacton in April 2015.

Darren Gilbert, who has admitted murdering James Gregoire in Clacton in April 2015. - Credit: Archant

Darren Gilbert, 22, admitted the charge during a short hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court this morning.

He was accused of killing 54-year-old James Gregoire in a two-knife attack during the early hours of April 13 this year.

Gilbert, who appeared in the dock in a grey jumper, spoke only to confirm his name and enter a plea.

During a previous hearing prosecutors had alleged Gilbert had broken into a flat near the town’s High Street where his ex-girlfriend Jasmine Gregoire, Mr Gregoire’s daughter, and a group of friends were.

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After an altercation at the flat Gilbert left with the victim and killed him by standing alongside him and using a slashing motion across the victim’s neck before attacking him, a court heard at the previous hearing.

Following the murder at 11.45pm police locked down the centre of Clacton as the altercation spread across a number of streets leaving officers with multiple scenes to examine.

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A manhunt was also launched and Gilbert was arrested at 11.40am the next morning.

Pleas were not taken today on three charges of attempted murder and making threats to kill, and these charges will be dealt with during a sentencing hearing.

Gilbert, of Holland Road, Clacton, will be sentenced back at the court in late July.

Judge Christopher Ball QC agreed to defence solicitor Stephen Rose’s request for a pre-sentence report, adding it would make little difference to the sentence passed but that it may be useful for a future parole board hearing.

Detective Inspector Morgan Cronin, senior investigating officer, said: “I am pleased Darren Gilbert decided to plead guilty due to the weight of evidence there was against him.

“This prevented the family of James Gregoire having to go through the emotional strain of a trial.

“While the verdict cannot bring James back I hope this brings them a form of closure to their tragic loss.

“Gilbert is a dangerous individual who faces a life sentence for his actions and the local community will be safer for his incarceration.

“I would also like thank the local community who assisted the police with our enquiries, particularly the local businesses who showed patience while forensic teams completed their investigations. Without their assistance a number of key pieces of evidence would not have been identified.”

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