Ramsgate neck-slash murderer given life term

Paul Prendergast
Image caption Paul Prendergast was ordered to serve at least 23 years in jail

A 45-year-old man has been jailed for life for murdering his friend by slashing his throat.

Paul Prendergast, of Margate Road, Ramsgate, was ordered to serve at least 23 years in jail by a judge at Maidstone Crown Court.

Cathal Hughes, 34, from Deal, had been staying with Prendergast when he was found dead at his home in August 2009.

Kent Police said that, during a post-mortem examination, a six-inch blade was retrieved from Mr Hughes's neck.

In a statement issued through police, Mr Hughes's family said: "No words can describe the trauma that has been inflicted on our family by the cowardly, barbaric and merciless manner in which Cathal was taken from this world."

Machete found

The trial had revealed details and images of his last moments that would "haunt us all the days of our lives", the statement added.

Det Insp Kenny Ingram said Mr Hughes died with "horrific injuries".

He added: "Only Paul Prendergast knows the truth about what happened between him and Cathal Hughes at that moment in time in August last year.

Image caption Cathal Hughes hads been staying with Prendergast when he was murdered

"It is unfortunate he did not see fit to admit his crime, however, we are satisfied with today's result at court and hope Mr Hughes' family can now move forward with their lives."

He said police received a call from Prendergast reporting a murder at his home on the evening of Sunday, 16 August last year.

Prendergast initially told police he thought Mr Hughes, who was known locally as Ivan, had been killed by a group of drug dealers.

Later he changed his account and claimed he had been acting in self-defence.

Officers found weapons, including knives and a machete, in a skip and a river.

A woman, aged 20, and a boy, aged 16, who were arrested at the time were later released without charge.

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