A SON who found his father murdered on Father’s Day last year is hoping the family can now move on with their lives as the coroner at the dead man’s inquest recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.
Family and friends attended the inquest, led by Coroner Dr Emma Carlyon at Truro’s Coroners’ Office, into the death of Colin Payne, aged 72, of Sanctuary Lane Flats, Helston.
The former postmaster was killed by his lover Alexander Channer, 54, following an argument concerning, it is believed, the purchase of a bottle of sherry that took place on June 4, 2012.
Mr Payne’s son, Nicholas, had gone to visit his father, who he described as a “good, kind man” about two weeks later on June 17, and when he could not get a reply had to break into the flat where he found his father’s body in his bed.
Although the pathologist had not been able to ascertain a cause of death as there had been a number of contributing factors, including heart-related problems that may have played a part,
Det Insp Stuart Ellis, from Devon and Cornwall Police's major crime investigation team said that Channer had confirmed he struck Mr Payne around the head with a rolling pin before pushing him onto the bed, smothering him with a pillow and placing ties around his mouth, wrists and legs.
Channer, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment with an order to serve a minimum of 15 years, had previously been arrested in 2000 for an offence of false imprisonment of another man, tying him up a knife point, but had received a police caution before he was detained at St Lawrence’s psychiatric hospital, Bodmin, where he received medical attention until 2002.
Det Insp Ellis added: “When Channer was arrested he admitted to doctors that he had been fantasising about the type of killing he had carried out.”
In light of this, Dr Carlyon noted that to help prevent future deaths she would be referring the details of the inquest to the Domestic Homicide Review and Public Health.
At Channer’s trial earlier this year, Judge Graham Cottle described the grandfather as a man “who enjoyed a quiet and completely independent life” but whose relationship with Channer, which Channer had told police was sexual, was unknown to his family.
Prosecutor Simon Laws QC told the court that Mr Payne enjoyed a drink with his preference being Tesco sherry but Channer was “reclusive” and rarely went out in public due to his obese weight and being “abused over his size”.
He added that on the day Mr Payne was killed he had asked Channer to buy some sherry but Channer was reluctant to do so and this triggered the murder when he “lost control”.
Channer then took Mr Payne’s credit cards and travelled the country staying in hotels before his arrest in Nottingham.
A GP report at the inquest confirmed Mr Payne had issues with anxiety, depression and alcohol, and that although he did not attend an arranged alcohol detox programme in May of last year he had planned to try to detox at home.
Mr Payne’s family described him as a “kind hearted man who would not hurt a fly” and his daughter, Rebecca Williams, said: “We are very happy with the verdict and we would like to thank the police for the professional way they have handled things.
“We all now hope to get on with our lives.”