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Man who randomly killed hillwalker in 'savage and animalistic' stabbing jailed for life
8 April 2021, 18:44
A man who randomly stabbed a hillwalker to death "just for the sake of killing somebody" has been sentenced to life in prison.
Moses Christensen, 22, was found guilty of murder last month over the "savage and animalistic" killing of 70-year-old Richard Hall.
Jurors rejected his claim of diminished responsibility.
A trial at Stafford Crown Court was told Christensen walked about 20 miles to Shropshire's Brown Clee Hill over several days, before repeatedly stabbing his victim near a communications mast.
He later told police he had decided to kill after crossing paths with an "easy target" and smiling, in an apparently sincere greeting to gain the element of surprise.
Sentencing Christensen to a minimum term of 28 years at Birmingham Crown Court on Thursday, Mr Justice Pepperall ruled the murder on Thursday 13 August last year had been pre-meditated.
The judge told Christensen: "This was a brutal and entirely senseless killing of an innocent stranger who had caused you no offence.
"You showed Mr Hall no mercy and you were later to tell the police that you felt no real remorse."
Mr Hall, from Perton, south Staffordshire, suffered 26 injuries, including a "horrific" wound to his hand and another which penetrated his skull.
The court heard Christensen, from Oldswinford in Stourbridge, was at that time being sought by West Midlands Police after buying two combat knives and telling a relative he wanted to kill three teachers.
The judge said he had committed the murder "with great savagery", having selected his victim as being vulnerable due to his age and the remote location.
Privately-educated Christensen, who has a history of depression dating back to his early teens, was arrested after knocking on the door of a house and telling the occupant he had committed a crime.
After he was treated in hospital for a cut to his hand, Christensen told police he had wanted to kill someone "just for the sake of killing somebody" as a "sort of lifelong desire and ambition".
Opening the case at the start of the trial, prosecutor Adrian Keeling QC explained that Christensen had never met Mr Hall before.
Mr Keeling told the court: "The defendant had no reason at all to bear Mr Hall any ill will, let alone to kill him.
"But the defendant, by his own admission, wanted to kill someone and Mr Hall, walking on his own, was chosen by the defendant as an easy target.
"The simple reality is that he killed because that is exactly what he wanted to do."
Mr Hall's widow had been left "devastated beyond words" by her husband's death, the court heard.
In a statement issued after Christensen was found guilty, Mr Hall's family paid tribute to him as a "brilliant" man with "so much to live for".
Their statement read: "Richard was a brilliant man in every way, 70 years young, an amazing husband, father and grandad.
"A man with so much to live for whose life was so brutally and senselessly taken away by what can only be described as an act of pure evil, perpetrated by pure evil.
"It beggars belief that this could happen to someone simply talking a walk on a summer's evening in such a remote and beautiful location."
The judge also imposed a concurrent 28-month sentence for possession of an offensive weapon.