30 Years For Braintree Stab Murder

A Braintree man who stabbed a woman more than 50 times in a "sustained and savage'' attack after she answered the door in her nightdress has been ordered to serve at least 30 years in jail, police said today (Wednesday November 23rd).

Howard Livings, 30, was found guilty by a jury at Chelmsford Crown Court of the murder of clerical worker Tina Bennett, 47, on Easter Sunday this year.

He was sentenced today and ordered to serve a minimum tariff of 30 years of a life sentence, Essex Police said.

The court was told that Livings, of Maysent Avenue, arrived at her house in the early hours of the morning armed with a large kitchen knife and cable ties.

Ms Bennett died within a matter of minutes after an act of "sustained and savage brutality'' according to the prosecution and was left in a pool of blood by her killer.

Her sister, Andrea Bennett, made the grim discovery after she visited her home in Keeble Way, Braintree, after growing concerned when Ms Bennett failed to arrive for a family lunch on Easter Monday.

Livings knew Ms Bennett "slightly'' as she was his best friend's aunt, the court was told, and he had helped at her home with some DIY work in the past.

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Parkes, of Essex Police, described Livings as a "cold-blooded killer''.

He said: "Tina Bennett died at the hands of a cold-blooded killer in one of the most savage crimes I have dealt with in 17 years.

"I have no doubt that Howard Livings went to Tina's house solely intent on her murder.

"Thankfully, we still live in a society where to be attacked in your home is incredibly rare.

"Livings has offered no real explanation as to why he killed Tina.

"Whilst the outcome of this trial can never make up for the loss of Tina, I sincerely hope that her family, who have acted with great dignity, can find an element of closure.''

Her sister Andrea paid tribute to a "beautiful, loving, caring daughter, sister and aunt''.