Four jailed for killing vulnerable man and scattering mother's ashes over body

Four street drinkers who savagely killed a vulnerable man in his own home before scattering his mother's ashes over his partially dismembered body have been jailed.

David Miller, 56, was attacked with weapons including corkscrews, knives, broken glass, an angle grinder, scissors, a rolling pin, a chisel and a saw.

He suffered more than 15 stab wounds after inviting Ian Cuthbertson, 51, Michael Hallett, 59, Joseph Catlin, 31, and Zena Kane, 36, into his home in Boothville, Northampton.

Prosecutor Peter Joyce QC told Northampton Crown Court: "He had been the victim of a brutal and sustained assault in his bedroom and had died of a stab wound to his heart.

"His body had been covered in porridge oats as well as the ashes of his own mother."

Hallett, Catlin and Kane were found guilty of murdering Mr Miller and sentenced to life. They will serve a minimum of 23 years, 18 years and 20 years respectively.

(clockwise from top left) Michael Hallett, 59, Zena Kane, 36, Ian Cuthbertson, 51, and Joseph Catlin, 31

Cuthbertson was found guilty of manslaughter and jailed for seven-and-a-half years on Wednesday.

Prosecutors said all four killers had been involved in the attack that started in the late evening of Friday June 10 and continued into the early hours of the next day.

Crude attempts to butcher and dispose of Mr Miller's body, including an attempt to remove his head, were made in the four days before he was found.

The prosecutor said: "These four defendants all took part in the brutal killing of a vulnerable man in his own home and then spend days trying to cover up their actions."

Detective Inspector Phil Mills, who led the investigation, said the group had preyed on a vulnerable member of the community, who was known and liked by his neighbours.

"They worked their way into his home and took advantage of his good nature," he said.

"The depravity in what they did to him is unimaginable. And instead of coming forward, they tried to cover up their actions and then lied about their involvement.

"While nothing could alleviate the pain caused by this crime to the family of David Miller, I hope this verdict means they can get some form of closure in their lives."

The victim's family said in a statement: "We as a family are devastated by the horrific murder of our brother David, and the appalling things that happened to his body following his death.

"David was a generous, loving, caring person who has never harmed anyone.

"His brutal killers heartlessly exploited David's vulnerability, and we as a family will never forget what has been done to David, and the desecration of our Mother's memory."

More in this Section

Investigation after elderly yellow vest protester injured in Nice

US lawmakers await details of Mueller's Russia report

German family to donate millions after hearing extent of Nazi past

Nicola Sturgeon: UK Government has no credible way forward


The most honest account you will ever read about the onset of the menopause

Working Life: Dr Carl Fagan, consultant in intensive care medicine, Beacon Hospital, Dublin

More From The Irish Examiner