Essex

Darren Kelly murder: Chris Carroll jailed for life

Darren Kelly Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Lorry driver Darren Kelly was stabbed to death near his home in Basildon, Essex, in October 2015

A man who fatally stabbed a lorry driver he believed to be a paedophile has been jailed for life.

Darren Kelly, 42, from Basildon, Essex, was attacked near his home last October and died in hospital.

Chris Carroll, 20, of Pevensey Close, Pitsea, was found guilty of murder following a five-week long trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.

He will serve a minimum term of 21 years. Three teenagers also accused of murder were found not guilty.

During the trial, the court heard one of the defendants, a 16-year-old girl - who cannot be named because of her age - suspected Mr Kelly of being a paedophile and arranged to meet him "to get him arrested".

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Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Chris Carroll chased and assaulted Mr Kelly before stabbing him several times, the court heard

She had launched a "personal campaign" against paedophiles and had recruited friends to help, the jury was told.

Essex Police said the belief Mr Kelly was interested in underage girls was "completely unfounded", and he thought he had arranged to meet a woman.

He was chased and assaulted on 20 October before being stabbed several times by Carroll.

Carroll's hoodie and a hunting knife was thrown into a lake near Burnt Mills Road in Basildon, detectives said.

"Essex Police strongly deter anyone from vigilante behaviour at any level," said Det Ch Insp Stephen Jennings.

"They could be acting upon inaccurate information and putting innocent people at serious risk."

Image caption Darren Kelly was found with serious injuries in Caister Drive, Basildon

Mr Kelly was given first aid by members of the public but died from his injuries in hospital.

His family said they had "been left devastated by Darren's cruel, needless murder by this shameless individual".

They described Mr Kelly as "a kind, hard-working, caring, fun- loving all round good guy".

"His death has left a very large hole in our lives," they said.

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