Southsea killer weeps in dock as victim’s sister says: I forgive you

Police at the scene of the murder in Waverley Road, Southsea
Police at the scene of the murder in Waverley Road, Southsea
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TWISTED Brendon Willis wept as he heard the sister of the man he brutally murdered with an axe has forgiven him.

Christopher Butler was likely asleep when Willis carried out the horrific attack, bludgeoning the 27-year-old to the head 25 times, causing 28 wounds.

Brendon Willis

Brendon Willis

Laying asleep on a bed in the bedsit where Willis was squatting at 75 Waverley Road, Southsea, Mr Butler, who was just 5ft 5in and 7st, had no chance of survival in the ‘inhumane killing’.

William Mousley QC, prosecuting, said Willis liked gratuitous violence and had a diary referring to killings.

Six months before the brutal murder Willis, 33, told transport police and a psychiatrist he intended to hurt Mr Butler and several others.

He was yesterday sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder with a minimum 18-year term.

I would like to extend my forgiveness to Brendon... I really hope that you take responsibility for your actions and that you feel sorry every single day

Murder victim’s sister

Willis wept in the dock at Winchester Crown Court as a statement from Kim Booth, Mr Butler’s sister, was read out.

She said: ‘It makes me so sad and disgusted someone would choose to do this to another human just to know what it felt like. I know that he has to live with the memory and acknowledgement of what he has done for the rest of his life.

‘I would like to extend my forgiveness to Brendon; this is the only way to get through this.’

She added: ‘My heart is broken and I hope the sadness I feel inside can one day be healed. I really hope that you take responsibility for your actions and that you feel sorry every single day.’

Earlier in the night the pair had been smoking the then-legal high Spice together at a gathering for New Year’s Eve last year at the bedsit Willis was squatting in.

When Neil McAvery returned at 11.15pm expecting to find the gathering still going on, Willis made a chilling confession telling him: ‘I’ve done Chris’.

Willis, who was suffering from a long-term untreated mental disorder, also told Neal Stacey of the killing when the pair were outside Kwiki-Mart in Albert Road, Southsea, after the murder.

Sentencing yesterday, Mr Justice Ian Dove said: ‘You launched a sustained, brutal and inhumane attack on an entirely defenceless and vulnerable young man who had never done you any harm and who you knew was incapable of responding to your aggression.

‘You inflicted horrific injuries to his head for which there was no possibility that he could recover. It’s beyond doubt that you intended to kill him.’

He added: ‘You seemed to have some sort of perverted and twisted sense of pride in what you’d done.’

Mr Mousley said the murder was a ‘vicious, sustained and repeated attack on a small defenceless man’.

Willis had denied the murder was premeditated but yesterday after hearing from witnesses who heard Willis make comments about harming Mr Butler, the judge ruled it was.

Giving evidence in the hearing yesterday, Willis said he and Mr Butler had become ‘best friends’.

The court heard how Willis had fled to Paulsgrove where he stayed with a friend until he was told to leave when the friend saw a police appeal for Willis on Facebook. He was later arrested in Monmouth Road but claimed he would hand himself in. Willis, formerly of Waverley Road, Southsea, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.

As he was led down from the dock he said: ‘I’m sorry’.

‘Mindless killing came from mental disorder’

GRIM details of Brendon Willis’ actions in the lead-up to the killing emerged as he was jailed.

The 33-year-old was suffering from a long-term mental disorder and had been hearing voices in what a psychiatrist called ‘pseudo hallucinations’.

While an inmate at HMP Highdown, where he was jailed for smashing police vehicle windows, he told Dr Shriti Burgul in June last year he had stabbed someone and wanted to hurt people – including Christopher Butler.

Dr Burgul told Winchester Crown Court how she twice visited Willis, who has previous for robbery, assault and affray.

She said: ‘He disclosed to me that he had stabbed somebody in the throat and that the police were unaware.’

She added: ‘He spoke about his intention to harm two people, one he referred to as little Chris.’

Dr Burgul added: ‘He voluntarily disclosed that he was going to go to Asda and buy a £3 knife.

‘He had mentioned hearing voices in our previous meeting and in the subsequent meeting as well but I don’t feel that those were arising from a true mental illness. I didn’t feel they were psychotic voices.’

Asked about whether he intended to harm, she added: ‘I wasn’t concerned that he truthfully intended to do that.’

Michael Shorrock QC, defending, said Willis had told the doctor he wanted to kill five people. She conceded it was possible he has said up to four.

Edwin Torgersen told the court how he spoke with Willis on Christmas Day.

He said: ‘We started talking, he wanted to kill someone to see what it’s like and be famous and do it before the new year.’

Mr Torgersen added: ‘I took it with a pinch of salt; I didn’t think he was being serious, then he said something about he could blame it on the spice.’

Andrew Sweatman told how he had been hiding weapons from Willis and that he had been with him all of Christmas Day and not seen Mr Torgersen.

However at the hearing, Mr Justice Ian Dove said the murder was premeditated and Willis was ‘dangerous’ while untreated. Michael Shorrock QC, defending, said Willis was genuinely remorseful and was suffering from an untreated mental disorder stemming from sexual abuse as a child.

Mr Shorrock added: ‘This was a mindless killing and to that extent was not really premeditated, it was an expression of his condition that caused him to kill and it could have happened at any time until something was done to treat the condition.’

Willis had been found in May 2015 on railway tracks at Fratton in an attempted suicide.