The 23-year-old man who murdered his flatmate in Brackley stabbed him “at least 325 times” before dismembering the body has been sentenced to 14 years and five months in prison.
Robert Field pleaded guilty on the first day of his trial in January to the killing of Augustus ‘Gus’ Davies.
Both men were drug dealers; Field was the runner in the business with Mr Davies running the operation.
At his sentencing today (May 24), the court heard the fatal attack on Mr Davies occurred after Field was allegedly robbed of £45,000 and drugs by dealers from Birmingham.
Rumours circulated that Field had staged the robbery and was betraying Mr Davies because he was unhappy at being second fiddle.
Mr Davies confronted Field at the pair’s flat in Old Town.
A fight broke out, resulting in the murder of 23-year-old Mr Davies at the hands of his school friend on June 25, 2018.
A pathology report concluded Mr Davies was the victim of a sustained attack with the cause of death resulting from several stab wounds to the neck that resulted in him bleeding out and suffering a cardiac arrest.
In the days after the murder, Field borrowed “bin liners, rubber gloves, a spade and a saw” from a friend so he could dismember and dispose of the body.
"The prosecution do not challenge your assertion that Mr Davies came at you with a knife," said Judge Adrienne Lucking.
"However, your actions went completely beyond self-defence.
"This was a horrific and ferocious attack including blows struck with severe force."
In a victim impact statement read out in court, the family said: "It's difficult to put into words how Gus's murder has affected all of us. We would do anything to see him again. What Gus went through is unbearable to think about, knowing he (Field) will be released, I fear for the safety of all of us."
The starting point for Field's sentence was set at 15 years but aggravating factors - the ferocity of the attack causing 325 wounds, mental or physical suffering inflicted on the victim before death, the concealment and dismembering of the body, the drugs and the intention to kill - increased the term to 20 years.
A lack of premeditation "indicated by the apparent spontaneous nature of the actual assault", assistance given in locating the missing limbs (albeit after the first funeral was held, meaning the family had to hold a second burial), the guilty plea and the judge's acceptance of remorse by virtue of a letter from Field, reduced the term to 17 years.
One-tenth credit was applied and Field was handed a 15-year and three month term, minus the 299 days already spent on remand.
Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Justine Wilson, from the East Midlands Special Operations Unit Major Crime Team, said: “This was one of the most violent and despicable crimes I have seen in twenty eight years policing.
“Gus Davies and Robert Field grew up together. They were friends. They lived together in a rented studio. Somewhere along the way they entered into the world of drug dealing. They thought this would give them a better life, an easy, quick way to make money.
“What it brought was a deep-rooted hatred and greed. Field wanted to be the big drug dealer in Brackley. He wanted to eliminate the competition and be the big man. He killed him in the most violent and despicable way and although he pleaded guilty I have not seen one moment of remorse throughout the investigation, only self-pity.
“Whatever his choices in life Gus was a young man who did not deserve to be killed.
“This was an extremely complex investigation and I would like to thank all the police officers and staff, crime scene investigators, scientists and Crown Prosecution Service lawyers and barristers involved. Everyone worked with such determination and passion and it was this professionalism that left Robert Field no option but to plead guilty.
“Through all this devastating evil there has been a remarkable strength. The family and friends of Gus have shown great patience and courage.
“I cannot begin to imagine the pain they have and are still going through. I hope no-one ever has to either. But to them I would like to say thank you and I hope the end to this chapter will help them move on to the next.”