Man jailed for life for killing OAP

A FORMER Colchester schoolboy was jailed for life yesterday for bludgeoning to death a retired businessman who was selling his £120,000 boat.

MAN JAILED FOR LIFE FOR BLUDGEONING BOAT SELLER

By Simon Baker, PA News

A FORMER Colchester schoolboy was jailed for life yesterday for bludgeoning to death a retired businessman who was selling his £120,000 boat.

David MacBride, 45, attacked widower Robert Saint on board the rare 42ft motor cruiser before throwing his body into the English Channel.


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MacBride, who claimed he had paid the full amount for the boat with cash he found on a train, killed popular Mr Saint after the two had met to finalise the sale at a marina at Chichester, West Sussex.

MacBride admitted throwing the body overboard but said he had panicked after claiming Mr Saint had collapsed and died as they took the vessel out for a test run. He denied murder.

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But a jury of seven men and five women at Lewes Crown Court took three-and-a-half hours of deliberations to find MacBride, of Bramber Way, Bognor Regis, West Sussex, guilty by a unanimous verdict.

As Mr Saint's friends and son, Gen , looked on from the public gallery, Judge Richard Brown told MacBride, a train guard who left school in Colchester at the age of 16, that for "this ultimate act of evil" the only sentence he could pass was one of life imprisonment.

He told him: "The jury has convicted you on just about the clearest evidence of murder that could possibly have been presented in such a trial.

"We may never know why it was that you chose to end the life of this 70-year-old man.

"Everything this court has heard about Bob Saint has painted a picture of a man who enjoyed life, enjoyed entertaining other people, valued friendship and cared for other people.

"In a horrendous and wicked act of violence, you have not only taken his life, but have deprived a son of his father and removed a cherished companion from his friends.''

After sending MacBride to the cells, he commended the team of Sussex Police officers who investigated the case for the "quality'' of their work.

The court heard during the trial that Mr Saint's son raised the alarm when his father failed to return to his home in Steyning, West Sussex, on September 26 last year.

MacBride was seen driving the boat erratically away from its mooring at the marina near Chichester on the same day, but it was possible Mr Saint had already been murdered and was lying below deck, Camden Pratt QC, prosecuting, told the court.

MacBride, who was obsessed with the Sundowner boat and had even made a sketch of it before he met Mr Saint, moored the boat later that day at nearby Itchenor.

The vessel was searched by police who found blood spots in the engine room and in another part of the boat which matched Mr Saint's DNA profile.

On October 9, Mr Saint's body was found on an Isle of Wight beach clothed only in black boxer shorts and socks. Two Tesco carrier bags were tied over his head and a diver's knife was found round one wrist.

A post-mortem examination later showed that Mr Saint, known as Captain Bob to his friends, had suffered 12 blows to the front of his head with a blunt instrument.

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