A US citizen who armed himself with a hunting knife to murder a security guard during an eviction attempt has been sentenced to life in prison.

Chad Henderson, who stabbed Nathan Burton four times in the chest, was given a minimum sentence of 19 years after a judge said the 46-year-old had intended to kill his victim.

Henderson, who was “stranded” in the UK during the Covid pandemic, was found guilty of murder at Birmingham Crown Court in September after refusing to attend or attend his trial.

The jury convicted him by a majority verdict of 11-1, rejecting his claim that he had acted in self-defence after barricading himself in his rented apartment in Woodhurst Road, Moseley, Birmingham.

The trial was told that Mr Burton, father of a young daughter, was stabbed shortly before 11pm on April 7, 2021, after visiting the property with two colleagues and a locksmith.

The 27-year-old victim, from Wolverhampton, was stabbed at the top of a staircase and died in hospital the following day.

Passing sentence on Monday, Judge Simon Drew KC said: “The defendant had every opportunity to attend his trial, with or without a lawyer.

“Regrettably, he has repeatedly attempted to disrupt and delay these proceedings.

“This finally comes to an end today.”

The judge, who heard Henderson was in arrears on rent and had foiled previous attempts to remove him from the property, said: “During the first week of April the defendant became increasingly difficult, abusive, aggressive and obstructive.

The history of his behavior clearly shows that he was preparing for a violent physical confrontation – when the opportunity arose, he grabbed the knife he had at hand and did not hesitate to use it

“The defendant had now developed a siege mentality and was making preparations to resist any attempt to remove him from the apartment by barricading the door and blocking the staircase and he had at least one knife on hand.

“With their verdict, the jury clearly rejected the defendant’s explanation.

“The history of his behavior clearly shows that he was preparing for a violent physical confrontation. When the opportunity presented itself, he grabbed the knife he had on hand and didn’t hesitate to use it.”

The number, location and severity of the wounds inflicted indicated an intent to kill, the judge added.

Police said Henderson called officers after the murder and told the operator “I was defending myself” and later claimed in an interview that he had taken action to prevent a “home invasion.”

Several victim impact statements from family members were read to the court, including those from Mr Burton’s parents and siblings.

Mr Burton’s mother told the court the loss of her “selfless and considerate” son had left her in a constant state of numbness, while the victim’s father described him as “quiet, humble and loving”.

“My son had so much to offer the community,” he said.

“Nathan worked incredibly hard at school and carried that ethos into the world of work.

“The pain associated with this entire event is indescribable.”

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Source : www.newschainonline.com

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