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Killer gets 30 years for 'ferocious' attack
9:00am Friday 7th December 2012 in News
A NATIONAL Front sympathiser who beat a grandmother to death in his caravan will serve a minimum of 30 years in prison.
Stewart Dale said he did not know why he punched and kicked Jennifer Hume unconscious before battering her with a light fitting, using a cosh and knife.
The 28-year-old even tried to cut off her right hand, Guildford Crown Court heard during a four-day trial that came to an end yesterday.
A jury of nine men and three women took just 30 minutes to return a unanimous guilty verdict to murder.
Judge Christopher Critchlow, jailing the odd-job man, said: “What you did to Jennifer Hume was some of the worst violence that any court or jury may be unfortunate enough to hear.”
Describing the defendant’s actions as sadistic and “wholly inappropriate brutality”, the judge offered jurors exemption for life from serving again if they wanted.
Police officers and forensic experts were stunned by the horror that met them at the scene, with a blood spatter expert determining that “fierce and ferocious blows” had been used on the 55-year-old victim.
The jury heard how the defendant and victim had been out drinking with others in Oxford, on May 17 this year.
They ended up taking a taxi back to his home, at Prospect Park caravan site, in Horspath.
He claimed that while there they went to bed and tried but failed to have sex, after which she then grabbed hold of his genitals and pulled them hard.
Her actions made him feel scared and threatened.
After adjusting a blind in the bedroom, he began raining down punches and kicks on the diveroced mum-of-three who lived in Hamel Walk, central Oxford.
Dale denied her murder but admitted manslaughter by way of loss of control.
After the verdict, prosecutor Ann Evans told the court Dale had a previous conviction from 2007, relating to two separate incidents, when he used racially threatening or abusive words or behaviour while at marches with the far-right National Front.
She read excerpts from witness statements made by the victim’s family.
Mrs Hume’s daughter Claire said: “I wish to express my desire to talk to mum. I wish I could hold her and tell her I love her, or send her a text message and get a reply.
“This will never happen.”
The victim’s brother, Billy, who was the only relation “strong enough” to endure the trial, said: “If there is any form of justice his life should be taken away.
“He’s been in court saying he killed my sister and I can’t do anything about it. I feel useless.”
Nicholas Rhodes QC, for the defence, offered no mitigation as he said he could find none.
He handed copies of psychiatric reports on the Dale to the judge which suggested schizoid behaviour and a limited capacity to express warmth to people, but not such as to amount to a personality disorder.
As he left the dock the defendant thanked the judge, before apologising to Mr Hume.
Afterwards Detective Chief Inspector Joe Kidman, of Thames Valley Police, said: “Dale described how he killed Jenny in great detail. “He described it with chilling detachment. It was quite extraordinary.”
Quiet loner who kept himself to himself
TO look at him you would not know he was capable of something so horrific.
But Stewart Dale – described by his neighbours as a “quiet loner” who “kept himself to himself” – is now a convicted murderer who stabbed and battered grandmother Jennifer Hume to death in his caravan in May.
The 28-year-old, who lived alone, bought the £80,000 static home in Prospect Park in 2009 with money he inherited from his mother.
Eddie Bulgin, 56, who lived opposite Dale at the caravan site, said: “I don’t think he was anybody you could get close to.
“He was the typical example of what a loner is. No friends. Something was not quite there.”
“I’m horrified to think what he did. It’s beyond comprehension.”
Dale was known in the village for wearing a flat cap and usually drank spirits.
Janet Hawkeswood, landlady at The Queen’s Head in Church Road, Horspath, said Dale would go in for a drink about once a week, which was usually before going to play darts on a Tuesday.
Dale played darts for one of the teams at the Marsh Harrier, in Marsh Road, Cowley.
She said: “He kept himself to himself. He used to order a double Woods – it is a rum – and go.”
Jay Patel, owner of Londis in Church Road, said: “He came in just a few times.
“He would buy cat food. When he came in he talked very nicely.”
CCTV cameras on the day of the murder show Dale pushing a ladies’ bike with a basket around the city before he began drinking at The Chequers in High Street.
He had no regular work and did odd jobs, although neighbours say he worked at the Nelson pub in Cowley.
Grandmother-of-three Ms Hume, who had lived in Hamel Walk for about four years, was said to be part of a group of “social” drinkers who would often gather in The Chequers pub from about 2pm.
Her friend of six years Daniel Ludlow said she was “lovely” and “always happy”. And another friend John Murphy said: “She enjoyed her life to the full. She loved her family.”