Northampton murderer's lifelong history of offending included carrying knives, arson, threats to kill and taking a child hostage to escape jail

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

A Northampton man who murdered his sleeping housemate with a kitchen knife was on bail when he committed the killing - for carrying a knife in public.

Spencer Hobson was jailed for life yesterday (November 26) for stabbing his Chris Matthews to death in a fit of rage.

But the 50-year-old was on bail for suspended 26-week sentence when he carried out the killing - after police caught him in public with a knife.

The offence was read out as part of Hobson's lifelong history of previous convictions, which included arson, burglary and making threats to kill.

In sentencing, His Honour Judge Rupert Mayo said: "There is an underlying theme of selfishness, dishonesty, addiction and violence which surfaces on a depressingly regular basis.

"You were subject to a 26-week suspended sentence at the time of the murder in June 2018... but the threat of immediate imprisonment [did not act] as any kind of deterrent to the deliberate and catastrophic use of fatal violence on Chris Matthews."

Mr Matthews and Hobson were housemates at a halfway home for people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction in Victoria Gardens, operated by the Richmond Fellowship.

But the court also heard yesterday how Hobson had told his friends and family about his growing anger towards his housemate.

Prosecutor John Lloyd-Jones QC said: "He told his mother in a phone call that if either he [Hobson] of Chris were not moved out 'something bad' was going to happen.

"He told a friend he wanted to kill Matthews and knew how he could do it with a knife."

Tragically, on June 21, Mr Matthews even begged the Fellowship to move him away from Hobson, and the charity agreed to do it the next day.

But that same evening, he was murdered.

A victim impact statement by the mother of Mr Matthew's three children said: "'Chris had his faults like all of us but he didn't deserve to leave us in such a horrific, frenzied way."

The court also heard an incident in 2000 when Hobson was serving a two-year sentence at HMP Littlehay where Hobson slashed at a woman's throat with a hidden razor and took a young child hostage in a bid to escape the jail.

For this, he was jailed for 10 years and was released in 2009 - and took up residency at Victoria Gardens.

Hobson was jailed on Tuesday to life in prison with a minimum term of 18 years.

READ MORE: Who's been sentenced at Northampton Magistrates' Court.