A heartbroken daughter told her father’s killer “You make me sick” as she watched him sent to prison with a life sentence.
Matthew Chibnall had stabbed his landlord and flatmate Anil Vegad to death and then kept his body secret for six weeks as he spent the victim’s money on alcohol.
It was only when he could no longer access Mr Vegad’s funds that 55-year-old Chibnall went to police on June 1 to say he had died.
However, Chibnall denied being responsible for the death of Mr Vegad, whose body had decomposed as it had lain inside the flat in Eden Street, Foleshill, since Easter Monday.
Chibnall was yesterday found guilty of murder following a trial at Coventry Crown Court and was today jailed for life with a minimum term of 18 years – minus any days spent on remand since his arrest – before he can even be considered for release by the parole board.
If he is released he will remain on licence for the rest of his life.
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Mr Vegad’s daughter stood up in court at today’s sentencing hearing to read out an emotional impact statement in which she spoke of the pain she and her family has endured since her father’s death.
She said: “A lot has changed for my family and I since the passing of my dad. What happened to my dad was so cruel. I can’t help but wonder how he must have felt in the last hours of his life. Was he alone? Was he afraid? Did he think of us?
“It leaves me with an unbearable pain.”
Speaking directly to Chibnall, she said: “You make me sick and I can’t even say your name. We address you as a murderer.
“How could you be so heartless? My dad put a roof over your head and you repaid him by literally stabbing him in the back.
“We have so many unanswered questions. Deep down we will never truly know what happened to our dad. He didn’t deserve to be stabbed and left to die.
“You left my dad to decompose and stepped over him to leave the room.”
Chibnall had stabbed his landlord and flatmate Mr Vegad, 57, in the shoulder on April 13 this year, which led to him bleeding to death.
He then used Mr Vegad’s bank card to buy alcohol while his body lay in the flat on Eden Street.
Chibnall finally attended Coventry police station on June 1 this year – when he could no longer access the victim’s funds – to reveal he had killed his friend.
Police attended the flat and found Mr Vegad dead in the living room after suffering a stab wound. There were also two other deep knife marks in a chair.
Chibnall claimed he had thrust a knife towards the chair where Mr Vegad had been sitting to get his attention – as he was behaving erratically.
He alleged it happened after they had been drinking during Easter Monday, and it was the following day his friend felt unwell and collapsed.
However, he was convicted of murder by a jury sitting at Coventry Crown Court.
What did the judge say?
Judge Andrew Lockhart QC said that he believed Chibnall had not intended to kill Mr Vegad, but had intended to cause him very serious harm.
The judge said that both men were “heavy drinkers” and Mr Vegad had grown “dissatisfied” living with Chibnall and had asked him to leave, but Chibnall had refused.
He said that on April 13 the two men were drinking at the flat and an argument “flared up”, with Chibnall “taking up a kitchen knife in anger” and threatened Mr Vegad with it.
Judge Lockhart stated: “You hit out twice at the chair and then in anger you dealt a significant blow to the shoulder (of Mr Vegad).
“The knife went deep in to his shoulder. He was caused a great deal of pain by that. This ended the altercation.
“He was moving around in pain and literally bleeding to death across a 12 to 18-hour period. You essentially did nothing for him – not a shred of humanity did you show. You only thought of yourself.
“You simply sat with this man’s body week after week. He died before your eyes and you did nothing for six weeks to reveal to anyone that he was dead.”
Adrian Keeling, speaking for Chibnall, said the defendant’s marriage ended in the 1990s and he was diagnosed with depression and turned to drink.
He moved to Coventry and turned his life around, getting a job as a tool maker, before being made redundant in 2015 and he once again became dependent upon alcohol.
Detective Inspector Hannah Whitehouse, from the West Midlands Police homicide team, said: “We may never know exactly what happened in that flat which led to Mr Vegad being fatally stabbed.
“We believe he thrust the knife deep into the chair twice and then into Mr Vegad.
“Chibnall could have immediately called emergency services and potentially saved his friend’s life. However, he just let Mr Vegad die and stole his card to buy alcohol in the weeks after his death.”