David Lammy 4pm - 7pm
Chef who killed Tory councillor with chainsaw over 'festering dispute' jailed for life
14 November 2019, 17:33
A chef who murdered a former Conservative councillor with a chainsaw has been ordered to serve a minimum of 25 years of a life sentence behind bars.
Jonathan Stasiuk, 60, had intended to kill 73-year-old Gerry White by cutting off his legs, but resorted to strangling him to death when the machine cut out.
He carried out his sickening crime in a remote corner of Lake Community Gardens on the Isle of Wight.
Stasiuk, from the Isle of Wight, initially claimed innocence, but changed his plea to guilty after his trial got underway at Southampton Crown Court.
The trial heard that Stasiuk attacked Mr White amid a long-running "festering dispute" over "trivial" differences about the running of a 16-acre charity farm
The judge said: "You had obsessed over your perceived, although relatively trivial, grievances that may not have any foundation whatsoever, to such an extent that you allowed them to build up into a form of hatred."
Matthew Jewell QC, prosecuting, told the jury the men were both trustees of the charity at the site set up for growing vegetables.
He said the pair had fallen out over a number of issues including claims by Stasiuk that Mr White, a publican, had used the site as a "dumping ground" for items for his business.
Mr Jewell said the disagreement also involved a cheque paid to Mr White by the Rotary Club for £3,000 for a roof repair which actually cost £1,300, and a request for the money to be repaid.
The prosecutor said Stasiuk, who has since been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, called 999 on the afternoon of May 27 and told the operator he had murdered someone.
Mr Jewell said police attended and arrested Stasiuk, and added: "As he was being led to the police van he said, 'I hope the bastard is dead'."
In a victim impact statement read to court, Mr White's widow, Lee White, said: "Losing my husband under such horrific and unbelievable circumstances has led to major shock and anxiety.
"Knowing what he went through is hard to bear, life has changed and cannot be normal again."
Mrs White added: "I have underlying sadness for Gerry but also fury and anger too."
The victim's son Desmond, who has three children, said: "Dad was too generous and accommodating to the wrong people. People often took advantage of him."
Jo Martin QC, defending, said: "Mr Stasiuk knows what he has done, he struggled to comprehend his actions, struggled to come to terms with the madness of those few moments and he is appalled at the consequences of what he has done."
She said Stasiuk told the court before changing his plea: "I have completely misjudged the situation and acted in a barbaric and crassly stupid way and I deeply regret it.
"What I did was cold-blooded, it seemed so callous and inhumane."