A MAN has been jailed for 20 years after a stabbing an acquaintance with so much force the knife broke.

Patrick Chandler, 45, has been found guilty of murdering John Comer, 45, following a nine-day trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment and must serve a minimum term of 20 years.

Senior investigating officer, Det Chief Insp Stephen Jennings, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “Patrick Chandler is a dangerous man whose violent unpredictability led him to stab John Comer for a reason which still has not become clear.

“The CCTV footage, and the hard work of my team, has shown to the jury it was Chandler seen travelling from the scene of the attack towards Stourdale Close and then on the bike back towards Bendall’s Court.

“We know the ‘who’, the ‘when’, and the ‘how’ in this case, but we still don’t know is the ‘why’.

“Because Chandler has not admitted his guilt, he has made Mr Comer’s family go through the ordeal of a trial but has not given them all the answers they are looking for."

John Comer was found collapsed by a member of the public in Barker Close, Lawford at around 5.30am on December 1 last year.

He died later in hospital as a result of his injuries which were confirmed in the post-mortem examination as two stab wounds – one to his chest and one to his abdomen.

Today (May 8) the court heard that Mr Comer and Chandler left an address in Bendalls Court, Manningtree, along with another man and woman, at around 2am, with the intention of stealing cannabis from an address in Lawford.

About 15 minutes later, Mr Comer was seen on CCTV lying on the floor in Barker Close with another man seen stepping over him before throwing an item on the floor.

Officers arrested Chandler and two other people, a man and a woman, on suspicion of attempted murder at the address in Bendall’s Court, and they were later arrested for murder following Mr Comer’s death.

The man and woman were later released without charge.

Chandler, of no fixed address, claimed he had only left the address in Bendall Court briefly to try to stop Mr Comer before returning.

However, forensic tests found he had Mr Comer’s blood on his shoes.

CCTV from the previous day revealed Chandler as wearing the same clothes as the man seen stepping over Mr Comer on the footage from Barker’s Close.

During the investigation officers tracked the movements of the man in the CCTV from Barker’s Close on to Colchester Road, and then Long Road towards Stourdale Close.

Footage then showed the same man riding a bicycle back along Long Road and in High Street.

The court was also told how a man with a bicycle was seen knocking on doors in the area of Wignall Street and High Street at around 3am asking for directions.

While making the arrests at Bendall Court, officers found a mountain bike which was later identified as having been stolen from an address in Stourdale Close, Manningtree.

The court also heard how Chandler threatened another man with two knives following his return to Bendall’s Court after a fuse in the property blew, causing the lights to go out.

The officer said: “I want to praise the family for the courage and dignity they have shown throughout the investigation and over the course of the trial.

“This was a vicious attack and Patrick Chandler now has a very long time in custody to reflect on his actions.”