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8 December 2016, 12:01 | Updated: 8 December 2016, 12:08
A man has been jailed for life for shooting a homeless man in Canterbury. 26-year-old Richard Donovan has been told he must at least 30 years in prison before being considered for parole.
Test carried out on the rare pellets matched ones found lodged in a garden shed that Richard Donovan had been staying at.
The court heard the body of 59-year-old Mrs Fox was found in a tent on wasteland near the River Stour revealed his body had been undiscovered for 10 months.
He had been homeless in the Canterbury area for a couple of years.
After reading media reports of the discovery, a woman told police she believed Donovan, of Westhorne Avenue, Eltham, had killed the homeless man with a sawn-off shotgun.
The court heard that Donovan owned a sawn-off shotgun, which witnesses said he carried around unassembled in three parts in a drawstring bag.
Mr Fox had been followed and approached by Donovan who, under the influence of alcohol, had become paranoid that the victim had seen him with the shotgun near to the wasteland in Wincheap.
Donovan sat down with Mr Fox by the tent, gave him a beer and engaged him in conversation before murdering him.
The woman was walking over to meet Donovan when she heard a loud bang and saw him running away from the tent.
He told her he had shot the homeless man and then threatened to kill her and her family if she told anyone. He later sold the gun. It wasn’t until the woman saw the media reports that she realised what Donovan had done.
A post mortem on 10 May 2016 confirmed Mr Fox had died from shotgun injuries to his lower body and Donovan was arrested the following day.
The pellets in Mr Fox’s body matched the ones found lodged in a garden shed in Wincheap which Donovan had fired at when he was staying at the property, the day before Mr Fox’s death.
A firearms expert confirmed the type of pellets used were uncommon in the UK.
Tony Hindmarsh, 36-years-old, of The Parade, Greatstone near New Romney, denied supplying Donovan with the murder weapon and was acquitted by the jury.
Earlier in the case Hindmarsh (pictured bottom right) had already admitted a charge of possession of prohibited ammunition and on Thursday 8 December we was sentenced to one year in prison.
Senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Tony Pledger of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: ‘Donovan is a dangerous individual who, fuelled by drink, shot an unarmed homeless man. There can be no reasonable explanation for his dreadful actions and the unimaginable loss he has caused.
‘Officers were determined to piece together what happened and bring the case before the courts, and I would like to thank the media, for their coverage of the investigation, and the members of the public, who came forward with invaluable information.
‘My sympathies are with the friends and family of Mr Fox and I hope today’s verdict has brought them some reassurance.’