Skegness addict who beat Corby holidaymaker to death with a rock jailed for at least 31 years
A homeless drug addict who beat a Skegness holidaymaker to death with a large rock during a violent robbery was today (Monday, February 5) jailed for life at Lincoln Crown Court.
Anthony Robertson, 33, was told he will have to serve a minimum of 31 years behind bars before he is even eligible to be considered for parole.
Robertson had denied murdering Corby holidaymaker Charles McGhee Adair, 59, who was found dead on scrub-land near a Tesco supermarket in the resort on July 3 last year.
But a jury at Lincoln Crown Court took just over an hour to find Robertson guilty of murder after a three week trial.
They also convicted Robertson of a second charge of robbery relating to Mr Adair on the same date.
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Passing sentence Judge Simon Hirst said it was a "mean feature of the case" that Robertson stole Mr Adair's mobile phone in the hours before carrying out the fatal attack - leaving him isolated.
Judge Hirst told Robertson he took view that the allegations he made against Mr Adair during the trial were totally made up in an attempt to escape a conviction for murder.
The Judge said he could not be sure that Robertson intended to kill Mr Adair, but added: "This was a ferocious attack with a large rock, or something similar, and you left him unconscious."
Judge Hirst reminded Robertson that he "was no stranger to the courts," and said Mr Adair had treated him with "considerable kindness" by buying him food, drink and drugs.
"While you were in the scrub-land you attacked Mr Adair with a heavy object on a number of occasions," Judge Hirst added.
"I am satisfied you hit Mr Adair more than twice with severe force."
Judge Hirst told Robertson he then stole Mr Adair's wallet and "left him dying".
"This was a murder committed for gain."
Mr Adair was from the Northamptonshire town of Corby and had travelled to Skegness for a music festival with friends who were staying in a bed and breakfast.
Emergency services were called to Richmond Drive in Skegness shortly after midday on July 3 after the body of Mr Adair was discovered by another drugs user in the scrubland.
Jurors heard Mr Adair was murdered by homeless Robertson who he ‘randomly’ met in the street before the pair spent a night together drinking and buying drugs – funded by Mr Adair.
Mr Adair had left his bed and breakfast at around 7pm on July 2 and first encountered Robertson at around 8.40pm, according to CCTV evidence recovered by the police.
Prosecutors said Mr Adair was last seen at 5.40am on July 3 after the pair were spotted on CCTV walking into scrub-land behind a local Tesco store, a well-known area for drug-taking.
Mr Adair’s body was found later that day in the scrub-land by a different drugs user.
The prosecution said that Mr Adair had been beaten to the head so badly that his injuries had killed him.
Jonathan Cox, prosecuting, told jurors that while in the scrub-land Robertson had stolen Mr Adair’s wallet containing his bank card.
Mr Cox added: “Over the following hours he’d used (the card) to withdraw cash from the bank account of Charlie Adair, the man he had beaten."
Robertson denied murder but admitted unlawfully killing Mr Adair falsely claiming he lost control and hit the older man over the head with a piece of concrete after he touched his groin.
But jurors heard Robertson failed to mention the claim of sexual touching when he was first arrested by the police or during his interviews.
The jury were also shown CCTV footage of Robertson acting aggressively towards police officers following his arrest.
Jurors heard Robertson had already pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Adair, the theft of his mobile phone and fraud relating to the use of his bank card. He also had previous convictions for violence and dishonesty.
The court heard Mr Adair was one of seven siblings.
Victim impact statements from Mr Adair's partner and other family members were read out during the sentence hearing.
In her statement, Mr Adair's partner said: "My Charlie has gone and I can't believe it. He was the strong one."
She added: "We are devastated in a way I can not put in words."
Mr Adair's son, also called Charlie Adair, said the premature taking of his father's life had robbed him of the opportunity to develop their relationship and with his grandchildren.
"Stunned and shocked is an understatement," is how Mr Adair described the impact of his father's death.
The brother of Charles Adair, James Adair, added: "There is now something empty inside." He described how his brother would always leave him laughing.
Mr Adair's sister, Catherine, said a dark cloud had come over the whole family since her brother's death.
Allan Compton KC, mitigating for Robertson, said his client had a difficult childhood dominated by drink and drugs.
Mr Compton said Robertson had also been examined by a number of psychiatrists and it was clear he had a number of mental health problems including anxiety, depression and a personality disorder.
"They do provide a significant background of who he is," Mr Compton explained, "and why he did what he did."
"Mr Robertson recognises he is not going to be considered for parole until he is in his 60's."
After passing sentence Judge Hirst also commended two officers from Lincolnshire Police for their work on the case and praised the dignity of Mr Adair's family.