A homeless man has been jailed for life after confessing to the “brutal” murder of an Irish man in London that goes back almost 40 years.
Anthony Kemp was 21 when he attacked Dublin-born Christopher Ainscough with a marble ashtray after they met one evening out in December 1983.
Kemp, now 59, pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 15 and a half years in Old Bailey.
Judge Mark Dennis QC told him, “This was a completely unjustified, brutal murder that led to the death of a harmless, well-respected, good-natured man who had been friends with you and caused you no harm.”
The judge said the “persistent assault on the defenseless victim” was born because of Kemp’s intoxication and violent temper triggered by the victim’s perceived actions.
It was a “terrible act of violence” that would have been on Kemp’s conscience since, the judge said.
The court had heard that Ainscough, 50, had invited Kemp back to his home in Kilburn, north-west London, early in the morning and was lying on the sofa when he was attacked.
His body was discovered by police after he failed to work at a restaurant in the city.
He had suffered devastating head injuries, including a skull fracture, when he was hit with a 2.4kg marble ashtray that was found at the scene.
Sir. Ainscough was gay and had been warned to invite people he had just met to his apartment earlier, the court heard.
The original murder investigation was closed in 1985 after no trace was found.
On July 28 last year, the cold case was resumed when Kemp confessed.
He showed up at Chiswick Police Station in west London and started throwing stones at the window before an officer came out to talk to him just after 4 p.m.
Kemp told the officer he had murdered someone 40 years ago and said he had “supported the brain in” over an altercation.
He said: “I’m not going to live on the f ****** streets, that’s a fact. I would rather the government take care of me.
“I prefer the last few years of my life in bang-up than sleeping on the street.”
He added: “For 40 years I got rid of it and now I own it.”
Kemp told police he did not know what had happened to spark the row.
He said the victim had been “sparko” after the first blow and that he was “in the head about going bosh, bosh, bosh”.
Before leaving the apartment, he spent five minutes using a cloth to wipe everything he had touched, including the ashtray, a glass, and a door handle.
A homeless man has been jailed for life after confessing to the “brutal” murder of an Irish man in London that goes back almost 40 years. | Read more: https://t.co/lDmqYzmnBm pic.twitter.com/00GpbW1rQS
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Kemp, a former alcoholic and heroin addict, withdrew his confession three days later after being released on bail.
He blamed the killing of his accomplice in a serious burglary in 1988 that had killed himself in prison.
But police matched Kemp’s DNA to what was left on a cigarette butt in an ashtray on a coffee table in Mr Ainscough’s living room.
The court heard that Kemp had previously been convicted of burglary and possession of a muck in 1980.
In 1988, he smashed an apartment in Northumbria, which he shared with a girlfriend who said he had a “violent temper”.
He was jailed for seven years for a felony burglary the same year.
Kemp and his accomplice, disguised as cooks and wearing tights over their heads, forced themselves into the victim’s apartment and beat and beat him.
In a statement on the consequences for victims read to court, a close friend of Mr. Ainscough him as one of her family.
The elderly woman, who asked not to be named, said: “Chris was a kind, generous, caring and funny man. We just adopted him.
“He was charming and had the extraordinary ability to get on with anyone and everyone.
“What someone did to my beautiful friend was devastating.”
Kemp killed a “very special person” as if it did nothing, then “went free” for nearly 40 years and lived the life her friend should have had, she said.
She added: “The brutality that was done has haunted me.”