Essex

'Robbery victim' guilty of Tina Bennett's murder

Tina Bennett
Image caption Tina Bennett, 47, died in the attack at her home in Keeble Way, Braintree

A man who claimed cuts to his hands were inflicted on him in a robbery has been found guilty of murdering a woman in her home in Essex.

Howard Livings, 30, of Maysent Avenue, Braintree, stabbed Tina Bennett more than 50 times after she answered her door in Braintree on Easter Sunday.

He had denied murdering the 47-year-old, but was convicted by jurors at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Livings is due to be sentenced at the same court on Wednesday.

Jurors had heard Livings carried out a planned attack and left his victim in a pool of blood in her living room.

'Cold blooded killer'

Her sister, Andrea Bennett, made the discovery when she visited the house after growing concerned when Ms Bennett failed to arrive for a family lunch on Easter Monday.

Image caption Howard Livings has given no explanation for Tina Bennett's murder

Livings, who knew Ms Bennett "slightly" as she was his best friend's aunt, arrived at her home in the early hours armed with a large kitchen knife and cable ties.

The prosecution said wounds to her hand and arms show she fought desperately to defend herself.

Livings injured his own hand in the attack and threw away his wallet and trainers on his way to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford.

He then constructed a "web of lies", saying he had been the victim of a robbery, the court heard.

He had previously helped with some DIY work at Ms Bennett's home, so knew she was single and lived alone.

Speaking after the case, Det Chief Insp Simon Parkes said: "Tina Bennett died at the hands of a cold blooded killer in one of the most savage crimes I have dealt with in 17 years.

"I have no doubt that Howard Livings went to Tina's house solely intent on her murder.

"Livings has offered no real explanation as to why he killed Tina."

Andrea Bennett said Ms Bennett was a caring, bright and bubbly woman who was always willing to help others.

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