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15 April 2016, 16:53
A man and a woman who were offered a place to stay by 54-year-old Robert Chester, in October last year, have been convicted today for their part in his death.
Mary Cash, aged 39, and Karl Pound, aged 51, both of no fixed address, were today convicted of manslaughter and murder respectively.
On the night of 8 October 2015, both were welcomed into Mr Chester’s house in Rothersthorpe Road, Northampton.
Robert was later stabbed eight times and then set on fire in an attempt to destroy evidence of the murder and cover tracks. Neighbours who saw the fire, called the fire service at 12pm, and attending firefighters discovered Robert’s body in his sitting room.
Both Pound and Cash had initially pleaded not guilty, blaming each other for the murder. Cash claimed that Pound had stabbed Mr Chester following an argument over a £10 note. Pound said that Cash had killed him as she had a bad temper when she was drunk.
After the first day of trial at Northampton Crown Court, Pound pleaded guilty to killing Robert.
Cash, who had denied the charge of murder, was later found guilty of manslighter by the jury.
The jury heard evidence that when Pound was arrested, he was found carrying a bag containing a knife and a towel with Mr Chester’s blood on it. Tests also revealed a DNA match to Mr Chester with blood found on Pound’s clothes.
A top worn by Cash and found in Mr Chester’s house also matched blood DNA.
Detective Inspector Louise Hemingway, who led the investigation, said: “Robert was known by his neighbours to be a quiet man who never caused any issues or harmed anyone. He kept himself to himself and lived a simple life with a fixed routine. It was this fixed routine that led his neighbours to notice that he had visitors on the 8th of October.
“It appears that an act of kindness by Robert was a fatal mistake. He offered to take in two people who might otherwise have had to spend a night out on the streets on a cold October night.
“They repaid this act of kindness by attacking him, stabbing him in his own house and then setting a fire to cover their tracks.
“I would like to offer my sincere condolences to Robert’s family and friends and hope that the conviction will help bring some comfort to them.”
The CCTV below shows Mr Chester, Cash and Pound on the day of the incident in different convenience stores in Northampton.