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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 November 2006, 15:40 GMT
Life in prison for cleaner killer
Gary Chester-Nash
Mr Justice Owen said Gary Chester-Nash "lied and lied"
A man with a fascination for knives has been jailed for life after being found guilty of murdering a cleaner.

Gary Chester-Nash had denied stabbing 59-year-old Jean Bowditch nine times as she cleaned a bungalow in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, in October 2005.

The 28-year-old, of no fixed address, will serve a minimum of 30 years. The court heard he killed Mrs Bowditch just a week after being released from jail.

Mr Justice Owen said he showed a "chilling attitude" towards his victim.

He told Truro Crown Court Mrs Bowditch was a "wholly innocent victim" who tragically crossed paths with him.

Violent crimes like this cast a shadow over a family which will never, ever be removed
Mr Justice Owen

"You displayed chilling arrogance, clearly believing you were beyond the law and were able to outwit the police," the judge said.

"You are an extremely dangerous man."

Chester-Nash was released on 5 October last year from Pentonville Prison after serving a sentence for burglary.

Truro Crown Court heard it was clear he intended to burgle the bungalow and had taken a knife, or knives, which he was prepared to use if the need arose.

He then stabbed Mrs Bowditch nine times as she cleaned the bungalow in Wayside, and left her to die in a pool of blood.

Jean Bowditch
The mother-of-two was stabbed nine times

The court heard that days before the killing the defendant told a girl he met that a stolen knife in his possession "would be good to kill someone with".

The judge said Chester-Nash lied and lied, "twisting and turning" in an attempt to fabricate a story which would enable him to escape the consequences of his "murderous attack".

He even invented a fictional character he tried to pass off as the murderer and lied about why Mrs Bowditch's blood was on his shoe.

During the trial, prosecutor Geoffrey Mercer QC said Chester-Nash had a "fascination for knives".

On the day of the murder Chester-Nash was arrested at Truro railway station on suspicion of stealing a sandwich.

The judge said a victim assessment statement from Mrs Bowditch's husband Michael spoke of the "desolation" the family had suffered.

It said: "Violent crimes like this cast a shadow over a family which will never, ever be removed."

Devon and Cornwall constabulary - Wayside Carbis bay
The court heard Chester-Nash had gone to burgle the bungalow

Chester-Nash was also sentenced to a total of two years' imprisonment for two burglaries he committed in Cornwall and the theft of a sandwich, which led to his arrest.

After the case, West Cornwall MP Andrew George asked why there had not been restrictions on Chester-Nash who travelled to Cornwall the day after being released from prison.

Chester-Nash was subject to an anti social behaviour order, an Asbo, which barred him from every pub, club and bar in the country after 2100.

It also banned him from going to any school, college or university, including halls of residence, in England and Wales.

Other conditions prohibited him from entering any club or premises providing sporting facilities for women.

He was also prohibited from seeking employment of any kind, paid or otherwise, in any pub, bar or nightclub in England and Wales.

The Asbo was imposed by Havering magistrates, in Essex, who jailed Chester-Nash for three months in late 2004 for carrying a knife outside a nightclub in Romford, Essex. .

Mr George said: "Someone, something or some part of the system failed in this case and Jean Bowditch has paid for that failure with her life."

The Home Office said the handling of the case was being reviewed and a series of recommendations would be developed as a result.

How a local policeman helped catch the killer

Snack theft sealed killer's fate
22 Nov 06 |  Cornwall
Jury out in cleaner death trial
22 Nov 06 |  Cornwall
Murder accused called 'fantasist'
16 Nov 06 |  Cornwall
'Foreign squatter' killed cleaner
15 Nov 06 |  Cornwall
House cleaner stabbed nine times
06 Nov 06 |  Cornwall

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