Life sentence for Northampton beggar who stabbed housemate to death while he slept

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

A Northampton man who stabbed his defenceless housemate to death in a fit of rage has been jailed for life.

Spencer Hobson murdered Chris Matthews while he slept by stabbing him 17 times with a kitchen knife at their shared terraced house in Victoria Gardens.

Chris Matthews was murdered by his housemate Spencer Hobson.

Chris Matthews was murdered by his housemate Spencer Hobson.

At his sentencing today (November 26), Northampton Crown Court heard how the 50-year-old smoked crack-cocaine in the living room in the hours after the killing before travelling to his ex-wife’s house and confessing everything to her.

His Honour Judge Rupert Mayo said: "The deliberate killing of Chris Matthews was senseless, brutal and selfish."

Chris Matthews, 41, was Hobson’s fourth flatmate in three years at the house in Victoria Gardens, which is a halfway home for homeless people dealing with drug and alcohol addictions operated by the Richmond Fellowship charity.

However, the court heard how Hobson harrassed Mr Matthews for 'trivial' problems and bullied his housemate regularly, including an argument where Hobson put a knife to the man's throat.

Chris Matthews- 41, was stabbed to death while he slept. His family called him a 'happy, friendly, popular, positive man'.

Chris Matthews- 41, was stabbed to death while he slept. His family called him a 'happy, friendly, popular, positive man'.

Then, on June 21 this year, Mr Matthews begged the fellowship to get him away from Hobson, and the charity agreed to move him into a new home the next day.

Chris reportedly left the charity’s offices ‘elated’ that day. But less than 24 hours later, he was dead.

On the night of June 21, Hobson was begging at the Market Tavern pub when he encountered his tenancy worker for the house at Victoria Gardens. She was drunk and 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.”

The court heard how Hobson smoked crack in the living room after the killing before confessing everything to his wife.

The court heard how Hobson smoked crack in the living room after the killing before confessing everything to his wife.

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.

The court heard how, in hours after the killing, Hobson smoked crack with an associate in the living room, who did not know about the murder that had just taken place upstairs.

Then, at 4am, Hobson confessed what happened to his ex-wife, who took him to a police station that morning where he turned himself in.

He later pleaded guilty to murder at Northampton Crown Court. Today, Hobson was handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 18 years.

In a statement read out by the prosecutor, Chris Matthews' mother said: "Regardless of his problems, Chris was a happy, friendly, popular and positive man. He was very much loved by his family.

"Chris did not deserve to die."