Halfway house charity suspends worker after 'information' comes to light in Northampton murder case

A member of staff at a Northampton-based charity has been suspended in light of 'information' heard in a court case over the murder of a 41-year-old father.

Monday, 3rd December 2018, 2:54 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 8:21 am
Spencer Hobson was jailed last week for murdering his housemate Chris Matthews.
Spencer Hobson was jailed last week for murdering his housemate Chris Matthews.

Spencer Hobson, 50, was jailed for 18 years last week (November 26) for stabbing his defenceless housemate, Chris Matthews, to death while he slept.

The two lived at a halfway house in Victoria Gardens that helps people recovering from personal crises like drug addiction, alcohol dependency and relationship breakdown, and is managed by the Richmond Fellowship.

Northampton Crown Court heard how after months of bullying Mr Matthews at home, the 'trigger' that sent Hobson into a 'fit of rage' was a drunken argument with a member of staff from the Richmond Fellowship in the hours before the killing.

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Now, a member of staff at the Richmond Fellowship has been suspended following 'additional information' that came to light in the court case.

It is not known if the member of staff referenced in the court case is the same employee who has been suspended.

A spokeswoman for Richmond said: “We are committed to learning and making improvements to our services. We commissioned an investigation earlier this year, which identified improvements in how we conduct our housing assessments of tenants and how we enable them to access support services. These improvements are being implemented and monitored robustly.

“Additional information has since come to our attention through the court case. As a result, we have suspended a member of staff and commissioned a further external investigation.

“Our thoughts are with the family of Mr Matthews at this difficult time."

The court heard how on the night of June 21 [the night of the murder], Hobson was begging at the Market Tavern pub when he encountered his tenancy worker for the house at Victoria Gardens. She was on a night out with friends.

A drunken argument broke out, during which Hobson threw ‘vicious and derogatory’ insults at the worker. She responded; “Enjoy being homeless.”

Through this, Hobson found out he was facing being removed the house. This, the court heard, was the ‘trigger’ for when Hobson decided to murder Mr Matthews.

Prosecutor John Lloyd-Jones said: “Nothing she [the tenancy worker] did or said can properly excuse what the defendant did that evening.

“He went home, entered the kitchen, went upstairs and stabbed Chris Matthews to death, in his words, in a fit of rage.”

The 17 stab wounds Hobson inflicted included a 20cm wound that pierced Mr Matthews’ heart and both lungs.