Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting GAZETTE NEWS to 80360, or email
UPDATED: Teenager convicted of murdering Colchester musician Thomas Brittain
12:37pm Tuesday 10th September 2013 in News
A TEENAGER has been convicted of murdering Colchester musician Thomas Brittain.
A jury at Chelmsford Crown Court ruled Jack Hummerstone was guilty of murdering the 26-year-old in March this year.
A second defendant, Andre Vella, was cleared of murder and Grievous Bodily Harm with intent. A jury convicted him of aggravated burglary.
Hummerstone was also convicted of committing GBH with intent.
Both defendants had earlier admitted possession of an imitation weapon.
Both admitted they had raided a flat in Charles Court, Colchester, where Mr Brittain had been staying with friends, but blamed each other for carrying out a fatal knife attack.
Mr Brittain – an aspiring songwriter and rapper known as Twister – was staying with Matthew Purves, his partner, Zoe Lewis, and their three children, all under five.
At about 1.35am on March 9, two men dressed in black and wearing balaclavas burst into the flat armed with knives and a gun.
A loud voice said “police’’ and the man with the gun pointed it at Mr Purves and ordered them all to the floor.
He tapped Mr Brittain to wake him and one of the men said to him: “All right, Twister’’ and all four started struggling with each other.
Miss Lewis escaped to the children’s bedroom and Mr Purves also managed to escape to the room after being assaulted.
One man got a hand around the door, but the couple forced it out and blocked it shut.
They heard screaming from another room and then it went quiet.
When they emerged, they found Mr Brittain bleeding on the floor. Despite the efforts of paramedics, he died at the scene.
Both suspects fled and a manhunt began.
Vella, 19, of Kirby Cross handed himself in two days later and Hummerstone, 18, of Clerkenwell, London, was caught when armed police raided a flat in London weeks later.
The pair will be sentenced at a later date.
Det Insp Anne Cameron, senior investigating officer, said: "Tom was a well-respected musician who spent his last few months in fear of Jack Hummerstone, resulting in Tom losing his flat, his possessions and ultimately his life.
"Jack Hummerstone and Andre Vella forced their way into a flat, containing a young family, carrying a guns and a knife.
"They had no consideration of the impact their actions would have on such young children.
"The flat owner was attacked, being stabbed on the hand and hit with the imitation gun.
"Tom was then repeatedly stabbed whilst he fought for his life. One of those wounds was fatal.
"This was a planned callous violent attack on a defenceless family and particularly Tom.
"Tom’s family have lost a much loved brother and son, for which no justice will bring him back.
"My condolences go to the family and Tom’s friends and I hope they are now able to grieve in peace, knowing that these men will be sent to prison.
"I would like to thank the witnesses who came forward to give evidence in this investigation, I appreciate this was particularly difficult for them due to the intimidatory behaviour of Hummerstone and Vella.
"However, their actions have ensured that these men are locked up and, I hope, they will take some time to reflect on the result of their brutal actions.”
See Wednesday's Gazette for a special five page report, including an interview with the police officer who led the investigation.
Comments are closed on this article.