Detectives have ensured a man who admitted stabbing his landlord to death in “a cowardly, vicious and brutal attack” at the pub where they lived in Braintree has been put behind bars after he was jailed for life.
Lawrence Bourke had been renting a spare room within the flat above the Swiss Bell in Mountbatten road for about 12 months when on the morning of 17 May last year he attacked and killed landlord Scott Gilhooly (pictured above), who had resided at his family-run business for almost 20 years.
At around 8.10am on that day, Bourke sent messages from his phone to members of his family saying that he had killed the 44 year-old, who was a much loved father, son, brother, uncle, and brother-in-law.
Emergency services were called to the property where Scott was, sadly, pronounced dead and Bourke was arrested, by armed response units, on suspicion of murder.
A post-mortem examination found Scott had died from stab wounds to his chest and neck.
Bourke (pictured below), 24, of Lister Road, Braintree was charged with murder and pleaded guilty at Basildon Crown Court on 15 January.
At the same court today, he was sentenced to life with a minimum of 25 years.
Senior investigating officer, Detective Inspector Andy Clarkson, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said:
“This was a cowardly, vicious and brutal attack.
“Scott was hugely popular, a community champion and respected local businessman, contributing greatly through his charity work and fundraising.
“His tragic death leaves an enormous void in the lives of all his family and friends.
“Scott’s close, loving family are forever broken by his sad, unnecessary death and have been living with the devastating consequences ever since.
“There is no doubt that this was a most heinous, senseless and unprovoked murder and while no sentence will ever bring Scott back, I hope today’s hearing will help his family move forward”
In a statement, Scott’s family said:
“We want to dedicate a very heartfelt thank you to all emergency services personnel who attended the Swiss Bell Public House on Sunday 17 May last year, and to Essex Police for their continued support during a difficult time.
“The family express their greatest admiration for the challenging circumstances all emergency services face each and every day
“They also praise both Essex Police and prosecuting team led by Mr Andrew Jackson for their thorough investigation, diligent case handling and empathy during a very sensitive and most distressing time”.