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Body-parts killer is jailed for life.

An accounts clerk was last night starting a life sentence after being convicted of the murder of his friend, whose body he chopped up and scattered across a housing estate.

Richard Markham, 28, of St Nicholas Court, South Ham, Basingstoke, Hants, was found guilty of the murder of father-of-two Tristian Lovelock, 25, on May 31 last year.

Mr Lovelock's family and friends rose to their feet and cried "Yes!" in unison as the guilty verdict was announced, and they applauded again as the judge passed a mandatory life sentence.

The judge at Winchester Crown Court, Mr Justice Michael Morland, told Markham that he would recommend to the Home Secretary that life should mean life.

"The killing of Tristian Lovelock was carried out in circumstances of the utmost barbarity," he said.

Markham's barrister, Michael Bowes QC, told the judge that Markham was likely to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act and transferred to hospital from prison.

Markham, who looked pale and drawn in a dark suit with cropped dark hair, was then led away from the dock.

A two-and-a-half week trial heard Markham, an accounts clerk with a furniture dealer, his drinking pal Mr Lovelock, a carpenter, and their friends, often took part in drunken mock fights with swords and other weapons at Markham's home.

But on the night of the murder Markham and Mr Lovelock had been drinking alone, the jury was told.

In court, Markham alleged a row had erupted after Mr Lovelock, who had a history of violent offending, had threatened him with a First World War bayonet.

Markham told the jury he had killed Mr Lovelock in self-defence by hitting him over the head with a hammer 15 times before dismembering his body with a saw and a hacksaw.

Mr Lovelock's head was found in bushes by a dog walker, followed by the discovery of other limbs in gardens of St Nicholas Court, and the victim's torso and a partially-cooked arm were found in Markham's home, the court heard.

Markham then fled to New York, where he was arrested by a police officer in Central Park and returned to the UK to stand trial.

Detective Chief Inspector Shirley Dinnell said after the hearing: "I am extremely pleased that the jury found Richard Markham guilty of the murder of Tristian Lovelock - particularly for Tristian's family, who might now be able to start rebuilding their lives."

Caught reading news of himself

The international hunt for fugitive killer Richard Markham ended in bizarre circumstances, when he was arrested as he sat in New York's Central Park, reading a newspaper article about himself.

"You got me," he told police officers who confronted him, before lifting his shirt to display the telltale "Made in England" tattoo encircling his navel.

The arrest in June last year ended a four-day sightseeing trip for a man who went on the run after bludgeoning his best friend to death, baking his arm in an oven and scattering his body parts across a housing estate.

Markham fled to the United States, taking the first flight available.

Family's ordeal

The mother of Tristian Lovelock fought back tears as she said her son was missed by the entire family and particularly by his two children - Charlie, eight, and Ella, six.

Ruth Halliday said: "The trial has been really difficult for us because of all the things we have had to hear. It has also sometimes felt as though it was Tristian who was on trial.

"But Tristian wasn't in court, he couldn't say what happened and he couldn't defend himself because he was gone. When Tristian's life was taken, so was ours in a way. Nothing will ever be the same again."
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Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 3, 2003
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