'I keep asking myself, why?': Family of Northampton man murdered by housemate share impact of his loss on their lives

Chris Matthews' family said he was a 'happy, friendly, popular and positive man'.
Chris Matthews' family said he was a 'happy, friendly, popular and positive man'.

The family of a 'happy, popular' Northampton father who was murdered by his housemate say they still 'struggle to cope' with what happened.

Chris Matthews was defenceless when he was stabbed to death while he slept by Spencer Hobson at their shared house in Victoria Gardens in June 2018.

Spencer Hobson was handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 18 years.

Spencer Hobson was handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 18 years.

The tragic circumstances that led to Mr Matthew's death were laid out at Northampton Crown Court yesterday (November 26) when Hobson was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 18 years.

But in the victim impact statements read out to the judge, Mr Matthews' family shared how they were unable to move on from his loss.

Prosecutor John Lloyd-Jones told the court what the mother of Mr Matthew's three children was facing through a victim impact statement he read out to the judge.

He said: "She finds herself constantly asking herself, 'why?'... He neither deserved nor needed to die.

Mr Matthew's was found dead by police at the house in Victoria Gardens after Hobson turned himself in.

Mr Matthew's was found dead by police at the house in Victoria Gardens after Hobson turned himself in.

"Although they had split up because of his drinking, they continued to meet and to talk. They saw each other as soul mates and best friends.

"She says, 'Chris had his faults like all of us but he didn't desserve to leave us in such a horrific, frenzied way.

"Chris's death has had a huge impact on their children - both in the immediate sense of loss but also the long-term effect of his absence. They will reach the milestones in their lives without his presence."

The court heard how Hobson regularly bullied Mr Matthews for 'trivial' problems while they were housemates at Victoria Gardens. It included an occasion where Hobson put a knife in the 41-year-old father's mouth, and nights where he attacked him while he slept.

It drove Mr Matthews to occasionally sleep rough in Northampton town centre because - as he told friends - he was 'scared of his housemate'.

And on June 21, Mr Matthews was told he would be moved away from Hobson the next day to get away from the abusive behaviour. But he was murdered by Hobson that same night.

A statement by Mr Matthew's mother read: "Chris was a happy, friendly, popular and positive man.

"Despite his personal demons, he was very much loved by his family.

"Chris' mother, father and sister speak of the devastation at his loss. All three still struggle to cope with not just the fact of his death but the way he died.

"Chris did not deserve to die."

Hobson pleaded guilty to murder in October.

Detective Inspector Stuart Hitchon said: “This was a violent and senseless murder and I welcome the sentence handed down today.

"I would like to thank Chris’s family for their courage and support throughout the investigation and criminal justice process. It has been an extremely difficult and distressing few months for them and I hope Hobson’s guilty plea and the sentence handed down will help bring them some comfort and closure.

“The family are devastated at the loss of Chris. He was a much-loved son, husband, father and brother who will no longer be there to see his children grow up or be there for future family events.”