On Air Now
Early Breakfast with James Stewart 4am - 6:30am
22 April 2015, 16:28 | Updated: 22 April 2015, 16:34
A man has been sentenced after he was convicted of murdering a homeless person in a church porch.
Ruslan Piktorov, 40, is facing life imprisonment for killing Trevor Hillman during a "ferocious" attack at St Peter and St Paul parish church.
Hillman's body was discovered in the grounds of Headcorn church in October last year.
Piktorov, of no fixed abode, had previously denied murdering the 57-year-old local man but changed his plea on Tuesday (21 April) during a hearing at Maidstone Crown Court.
Mr Hillman was well known in the local community and frequently used the church porch area as a place to sleep.
He died after a sustained assault from around 9.10pm on 21 October 2014. He and Piktorov had been previously talking and eating together from underneath the porch, before Piktorov then repeatedly punched and stamped upon his victim.
The assault lasted around 50 minutes and was so fierce that every rib of the victim was broken. Piktorov also removed a belt from Mr Hillman and strangled him with it.
Before and after the attack Piktorov made a number of unsuccessful attempts to use his victim's bank card in order to withdraw money from cash machines in the area.
Mr Hillman's body was discovered the following morning. On the same day Piktorov took a train from Headcorn to London, where he approached police officers and stated that he "may have killed someone".
Before boarding the train CCTV images showed Piktorov at the station car park stuffing a bag containing blood stained clothing into a large refuse bin.
Judge Jeremy Carey expressed thanks to the local community for supporting the investigation and told Piktorov he would have to serve a minimum of 18 years before he could be considered for parole.
Detective Inspector Lee Whitehead from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: "Mr Hillman was a defenceless victim of a brutal attack which lasted almost an hour. Every single one of his ribs was broken and Piktorov continued to deliver blows when he lay motionless on the ground.
"Pikitorov made repeated attempts to steal money out of Mr Hillman’s bank account and the following day then tried to hide the evidence of his crime by disposing of the bloodied clothes he had been wearing.
"The level of violence used to murder his victim was truly horrific. Mr Hillman was homeless, but he was very well known by a large number of people and this terrible crime has had a profound effect on the local community."