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.

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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.

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“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.

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