Hatfield man guilty of murder

A MAN who slit the throat of his love rival has been found guilty of murder.

Richard Clare, 38, has this afternoon (Wednesday) been jailed for life – and told he will spend a minimum of 27 years behind bars.

A jury of seven men and five women found Clare guilty of killing his mate and new girlfriend’s ex-lover Peter McConnell, who had been staying at his home in Fern Dells, Hatfield, on Sunday, March 21.

Using a Stanley knife, Clare slit his throat so deep it severed his voicebox, causing McConnell to bleed to death.

Clare, a heroin dealer, then bound his 43-year-old victim in parcel tape and buried him in the back garden – before ripping up the blood-stained floorboards and re-plastering walls in a bid to stop police forensic teams from finding any evidence.


You may also want to watch:


Judge Stephen Gullick gave Clare the new statutory minimum of 25 years for a knife murder, and added two more years for the concealment and burial of Mr McConnell’s body.

Sentencing Clare at St Albans Crown Court, the judge said: “You decided to eliminate Peter McConnell, you saw your chance and you took it using a substantial Stanley knife to achieve your aim.

Most Read

“Almost immediately you resolved not to tell the authorities. You organised the clean up of your house, stored his body in a metal box for hours and buried him in a grave which you and others dug in the back garden.

Judge Gullick also lifted reporting restrictions, which had prevented the jury from knowing Clare successfully claimed self-defence in a previous murder trial in 2003.

Clare also claimed self-defence this time – yet he was convicted of murder after just over five hours of deliberations by the jury.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter