Murderer Kevin Shepherd jailed for life after killing sister Sharon Butler in Leigh-on-Sea

Kevin Shepherd and Sharon Butler

Kevin Shepherd stabbed his sister Sharon Butler outside their home in Leigh-on-Sea. Credit: Essex Police.

A man brutally murdered his own sister over a row about money and the family bathroom needing work before confessing the crime to his mother.

Kevin Shepherd sobbed in the dock as he was given a life sentence for killing his sister after he became enraged at her as she ate dinner.

Shepherd, 55, of Whitehouse Meadows, Leigh-on-Sea, attacked and stabbed his 64-year-old sister Sharon Butler outside their home in November last year after he "went at her" about money in the family home, and how the bathroom needed work doing.

Shepherd became angry over money despite the fact that Ms Butler was the only working person in the home, which the siblings shared with their elderly mother.

The argument began on the evening of 7 November and progressed outside when their mother became upset over the rowing.

After arguing outside, Shepherd's mother witnessed him re-enter the house and grab a knife before going outside.

At his murder sentencing hearing at Basildon Crown Court on Monday, Simon Spence KC, prosecuting, said their mother heard Ms Butler shout "mum", before Shepherd came back into the home and confessed to killing his sister.Recalling what their mother heard from inside the house, Mr Spence said: "Kevin sounded quite irate and Sharon was quite upset.

"Kevin came back into the kitchen and opened the drawer sharply and took a knife out. The last thing she [their mother] heard was Sharon shout 'mum'.

"Kevin came into the house and said 'sorry'. He said he had hurt her and killed her. He had already called the police."

Mr Spence said police arrived nine minutes later and one officer spotted a blue tarpaulin in the front garden, but did not know what was under it.

Only when he pulled it back did he find Ms Butler\s body with severe injuries.

A post-mortem later found she had 16 different areas of stab wounds, with the knife found in a plant pot nearby.

Mr Spence then read out a victim impact statement from members of Sharon's family.

Sharon’s family paid tribute to her saying "our world has been shattered by the loss". Credit: Essex Police

They said: "We can't express how deeply this has affected the whole family. This catastrophic event has ripped apart the fabric of the whole family.

"We feel numb, like this devastating event cannot have happened to us, like we are watching it happen to another family.

"The unspeakable horror and realisation of what Kevin actually did and the fear, panic and pain that Sharon must have felt in her final minutes.

"Our whole outcome on life has changed. Her mum has lost not one but two children with whom she once shared the family home.

"Kevin has physically and emotionally destroyed her. She now requires carers four times daily.

"We have been left to pick up the pieces. It's been life-changing for us and we can never forgive Kevin for what he has done.

"We want Kevin to know that we can never forgive him for what he has done."

Mitigating for Shepherd, who spent most of the hearing crying, Tracy Ayling KC said he "wishes it was him that had died and not his sister".

She continued: "He wants to put it right and ask for forgiveness from his family, but he accepts that is a long time coming."

Judge Samantha Leigh said that Shepherd's actions had destroyed his mother and deeply affected his entire family, and that his mother now needs "constant care and reassurance".

She said: "When a life is taken by another the exercise taken in court is not an exercise on the value of a peron's life. The sentence I pass today will not bring the deceased back."

The judge gave Shepherd a life sentence with a minimum term of 13 years before he will be eligible for parole.