A NEIGHBOUR who repeatedly stabbed the woman living next door in a long-running petty dispute has been sentenced to life behind bars with a minimum of 28 years.
Satellite TV engineer Trevor Gibbon, 48, was out for revenge when he armed himself with two knives and ambushed Alison Morrison, 45, formerly of Bedhampton, from behind as she walked to the station on her way to work, on December 18 last year.
He stabbed Mrs Morrison 40 times on the day after he was handed a restraining order, having pleaded guilty to harassing Mrs Morrison and her family since they moved into their £300,000 home.
As she lay dying in the street near her home in Harrow, north west London, Mrs Morrison, a Which? senior manager, repeatedly named her attacker, telling residents who had flocked to help: ‘Trevor Gibbon did this to me.’
Afterwards, the killer fled in his Mercedes but was picked up later the same morning 100 miles away in Lincolnshire. As he was arrested he told officers: ‘It was over a neighbour dispute.’
Gibbon, who is originally from Birmingham, denied murder but admitted the killing on the basis that he was ‘suffering from an abnormality of mental functioning’.
But the jury rejected his defence and found him guilty on Friday after two days of deliberations.
Mrs Morrison grew up in Bedhampton and most of her family still live in the Waterlooville area.
Mrs Morrison’s three sisters were there today to see Gibbon being sent down.
Sentencing at the Old Bailey, judge Timothy Pontius said: ‘This was not a frenzied loss of control on the defendant’s part but a merciless act of vengeance indubitably with the intent to kill Alison Morrison in the forefront of his mind.
‘This brutal murder robbed a close-knit family of a devoted and caring wife, mother, sister and aunt.
‘A woman the victim impact statements make movingly clear with a zest for life and enthusiasm for her responsible and stimulating job.
‘As a result her family have been left devastated and the devastating effects on the relationship between her husband and her son may take a very long time to repair.’
Earlier in mitigation, Francis FitzGibbon QC said Gibbon was ‘horrified’ and ‘deeply sorry’ for what he had done.
The lawyer said: ‘It is so wholly out of character that he and his friends and family are at a loss. No-one could have guessed someone flashing his lights, banging on his fence, being a bad neighbour, could have done something like this.’
The court had heard the trouble dated back to 2011 when Mrs Morrison, her husband Cedric and their teenage son moved next door to Gibbon and his partner in Windsor Crescent, Harrow, north-west London.
Almost immediately, Gibbon complained about the noise from the boy’s skateboard and, despite the Morrisons’ attempts to placate him, nothing seemed to satisfy him.
Gibbon went on to harass and threaten Mrs Morrison by trapping her in her car, banging dustbin lids loudly at 6am below her window and repeatedly flashing his car lights.
Even though the Morrisons wanted to live peacefully with their neighbour, the situation escalated and came to a head in October last year when Gibbon followed them on their way to work and stopped and stared at them in his car.
He was charged with harassing the family between August 1, 2012, and October 31, 2014, and admitted the offence at the magistrates’ court the day before the killing.
Giving evidence from beyond the grave, Mrs Morrison told of the ‘constant unending harassment’.
Following his conviction, Mrs Morrison’s widower Cedric told the court: ‘Alison was my best friend, my soul mate, the soul of our home and the breadwinner to the household.
‘Alison’s death will always be beyond my comprehension because she died for nothing in the cruellest way possible at the hands of our neighbour. A bright light has been extinguished forever.’
In a victim impact statement read out to the court, Kori Morrison called for Gibbon to be locked up for the rest of his life.
He said: ‘To me, I can’t fully understand how Trevor Gibbon would receive anything less than having to spend the rest of his life in prison.’