Violent and unpredictable criminal sentenced to life in prison for brutal Essex stabbing

Patrick Chandler has been jailed for the murder of John Comer Picture: ESSEX POLICE

Patrick Chandler has been jailed for the murder of John Comer Picture: ESSEX POLICE - Credit: Essex Police

A dangerous north Essex criminal who fatally stabbed an acquaintance with such force the knife broke has been sentenced to life in prison.

John Comer's family say he was 'much loved' Picture: ESSEX POLICE

John Comer's family say he was 'much loved' Picture: ESSEX POLICE - Credit: Archant

Patrick Chandler, 45, had pleaded innocent to the murder of John Comer, 46, in Lawford Dale, Manningtree, but was found guilty yesterday, following a nine day trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Mr Comer was found collapsed in Barker Close at 5.30am on December 1 last year and died in hospital later that day.

Paramedics found a knife blade in his clothing, while the handle was found nearby. He was found to have suffered stab wounds to his chest and stomach.

The court heard Mr Comer and Chandler had left an address in Bendall’s Court, Manningtree, where they had been with another man and a woman, at around 2am with the intention of stealing cannabis from an address in Lawford. At 2.15am, Mr Comer was seen on CCTV lying on the floor in Barker Close with another man stepping over him before throwing an item on the floor.

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Officers arrested Chandler, together with a man and woman, on suspicion of murder. The man and woman were later released without charge.

Chandler, of no fixed address, claimed he had only left Bendall’s Court briefly to try to stop Mr Comer before returning.

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However, forensic tests found he had Mr Comer’s blood on his shoes. He was also identified on supermarket CCTV from the previous day as wearing the same clothes as the man seen stepping over Mr Comer.

Chandler was sentenced to life imprisonment and told he must serve at least 20 years.

Det Chief Insp Stephen Jennings said: “Patrick Chandler is a dangerous man whose violent unpredictability led him to stab John Comer for a reason which still has not become clear. The CCTV footage, and the hard work of my team, has shown to the jury it was Chandler seen travelling from the scene of the attack towards Stourdale Close and then on the bike back towards Bendall’s Court. We know the ‘who’, the ‘when’, and the ‘how’ in this case, but we still don’t know is the ‘why’. Because Chandler has not admitted his guilt, he has made Mr Comer’s family go through the ordeal of a trial but has not given them all the answers they are looking for.”

Det Chief Insp Jennings praised the family for their “courage and dignity”.

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