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  1. ITV Report

Life sentence for tenant who murdered landlord

Karl Bestford murdered his landlord at the flat he rented in Gateshead Photo: Northumbria Police

A man is beginning a life sentence after murdering his landlord over unpaid rent. Karl Bestford carried out the killing at the home let by Simon Meech in Gateshead.

Mr Meech had gone to the flat in Bensham because his tenant owed hundreds of pounds. Bestford had fallen into arrears, after failing to keep up with payments for seven months.

Bestford stabbed and mutilated Mr Meech, before escaping along the A69 in his landlord's car. He pulled over in a layby near Corbridge. There he rang 999 and reported the killing to police.

At his trial, Bestford denied murder but was convicted by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.

Simon Meech was described in court as a 'model landlord'. His family says it's been left 'utterly heartbroken'.

Simon was an incredible man, so deeply loved by all his family and friends.

Our loss of him in July 2012 completely devastated our lives and left us utterly heartbroken.

We have been left with such painful emptiness in our lives ... Simon's children have been robbed of the most wonderful father; to us this is far and above the most painful and tragic part of our loss.

– Simon Meech's family

Police have described the killing as a 'savage attack'.

Sentencing Bestford to life in jail, a judge at Newcastle Crown Court ordered that he serve a minimum of 22 years behind bars.