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Man who attacked neighbour with hammer is jailed for life

Harry Messenger was struck several times Credit: Kent Police
Anthony Goodwin was found guilty of murder Credit: Kent Police

A fight which left a Kent pensioner dead after being attacked with a hammer has seen his neighbour jailed for life.

Anthony Goodwin, 62, of Crispin Close, hit 75-year-old Harry Messenger in the head multiple times in the early hours of Friday 19 May 2017. He claimed it was an act of self- efence, and said he was attacked while drinking at Mr Messenger’s home.

Goodwin then went to his own house and washed his clothes before returning to Mr Messenger’s address, ringing the doorbell and calling his mobile phone.

It was not until the afternoon that he contacted Kent Police when no one answered.

Officers attended and found Mr Messenger’s body in the living room with substantial injuries to his head and injuries to his chest.

A hammer was found next to his body and enquiries found Mr Messenger’s injuries were consistent with being hit multiple times with the weapon.

During the 999 call made by Goodwin, he said: ‘I think I might have hurt him [Mr Messenger] because we had a fight.’

He also said he took the hammer off the 75-year-old and struck him on the head.

Goodwin, who had suffered minor facial injuries during the altercation, was arrested at his home on suspicion of murder.

He was found to have sent a text to a friend admitting he had murdered someone and asked to speak to his brother urgently.

He was found guilty of murder at Maidstone Crown Court on Tuesday 7 November 2017 and on 8 November was sentenced to life imprisonment.

He will serve a minimum of 13 years before being considered for parole.

This was a sustained and brutal attack. The multiple wounds found on the victim including the fatal wound to his head proved Goodwin intended to kill Harry Messenger. The severity of this attack, the text message he sent from his phone soon after and then the time he took to report this matter to the police voided any claim he was acting in self-defence. I hope this verdict and the sentence is of some comfort to Mr Messenger’s family and friends.

– Detective Chief Inspector Ivan Beasley