Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Southsea murder: Man jailed for New Year's Day axe killing

Brendon Michael Willis Image copyright Hampshire Constabulary
Image caption Brendon Michael Willis admitted murder

A man who killed his victim by striking him with an axe up to 25 times has been jailed for life.

The body of 27-year-old Christopher Butler was discovered at a flat in Waverley Road, Southsea, Hampshire, on New Year's Day.

Brendon Michael Willis, who previously pleaded guilty to murder, was sentenced to a minimum of 18 years in prison.

Hampshire Constabulary described it as an "unprovoked and brutal" attack.

The court heard Willis, 33, of Waverley Road, told friends before the killing he wanted to know what it would be like to murder someone.

He later claimed he had taken the legal high Spice, which he said made him violent.

Image copyright Hampshire Police
Image caption Christopher Butler's family described him as a "sensitive soul"

Gavin Sumpter, of the Wessex Crown Prosecution Service, said it was a "tragic case" in which Mr Butler was the victim of "a premeditated, extremely violent and gratuitous attack".

He said that when Willis was in prison in 2015 he confided in a psychiatrist that he was concerned he might hurt someone.

Mr Sumpter added: "Shortly before Christopher's murder he told others that he had been wondering what it would be like to murder someone, saying: 'I want to see what it's like to kill someone. I've got an axe. I want to do it before New Year, I want to be famous. Blame it on Spice. You smoke it and it makes you go mad. It makes you violent'."

Image caption Christopher Butler's body was discovered at a flat in Waverley Road

Willis was arrested and charged on 6 January following a police appeal to find him.

"This was a particularly challenging investigation because the number of people we needed to speak to and their reluctance to speak to the police," Det Supt Becky Riggs said.

Image caption The police investigation began on New Year's Day

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