Page last updated at 14:32 GMT, Friday, 12 December 2008

Homophobic killer jailed for life

Mark Malone
Mark Malone was sentenced to a minimum term of 30 years in prison

A homophobic man has been jailed for life for stabbing to death an accountant in a public toilet.

Mark Malone, 30, of Clement Road, Walton-on-Thames, was sentenced to a minimum of 30 years at the Old Bailey.

He was found guilty of the murder of 50-year-old Jeff Akers near a beauty spot in Walton-on-Thames in February, following a trial in November.

Mr Akers, formerly of south Wales, died in hospital after he staggered from the toilet with a large knife in his back.

'Unhealthy interest'

Sentencing Malone, Judge David Paget said: "You murdered him in a particularly savage way, stabbing him in the back with a carving knife with such force that it completely severed the eighth rib and punctured his right lung.

"The knife went into his back up to the hilt. The knife had an eight-inch blade. You did this simply because he was gay.

"I am satisfied that you took that knife and went into those public lavatories looking for someone you thought was gay to stab."

He added: "You clearly have an unhealthy interest in knives and very clearly have a hatred of homosexuals.

"You will have to be regarded, therefore, as posing a significant risk of serious harm to members of the public, in particular gay men, in the future,"

The court was told that in September 2007 Malone attacked a Brazilian man in a cubicle at the same location.

Jeff Akers
Jeff Akers died in hospital after being stabbed in the back

He was jailed for three months five years ago for punching an autistic man twice he thought was gay because he believed he was staring and winking at him on a bus in Helston, Cornwall.

Following last month's verdict, Mr Akers' brother, Richard, said justice had been done.

Mr Akers was described as a "wonderful, caring and loving son" by his parents.

Originally from Barry, south Wales, Mr Akers had lived with his partner, Mike Drew, for 22 years, in Wallington, south London.

During the trial, Ann Cotcher QC, prosecuting, said the only possible motive for Malone's unprovoked attack had been "a dislike of homosexuals".

The court was told the toilet was a well-known meeting place for gay men and Malone, a married father, had earlier been seen in the area waving a knife.

Malone eventually handed himself in, claiming he knew the toilet was a popular spot for gay men "but that he had no issues with the gay community" and "was not an angry person".

But after the hearing Surrey Police said it was a "vicious, unprovoked homophobic attack by Mark Malone on a harmless, innocent man".

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