December 30, 2014
Killer of Burnham man could be released after less than five years jail

A paranoid man who fatally stabbed a 24 year-old Burnham-On-Sea man has been jailed - but could be released after less than five years of a life sentence.

Derek Hancock, right, has been given the sentence for manslaughter after admitting stabbing Burnham man Robert Cox to death in Bishopston, Bristol in August last year, as reported here.

The sentence was pronounced via video link at Southampton Crown Court earlier following a previous hearing at Bristol Crown Court in October.

Robert, a father of two, lived with his family in Highbridge Road, Burnham for many years and previously attended Brent Knoll School and Burnham's St Joseph's School before moving on to Highbridge's King Alfred School and Bridgwater College.

The Honourable Mr Justice Teare said the life sentence would involve Hancock, who was suffering from a mental health disorder at the time, being treated in a secure hospital and then being transferred to prison if and when he was deemed fit.

The judge said the 42 year-old would be held for a minimum four years and nine months after pleading guilty to a charge of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He will only be released after this if a parole board decides it will be safe to let him back into the community.

An earlier court hearing in Bristol was told Hancock and Mr Cox, right, were both living at the Egerton Road hostel in Bishopston, Bristol. Bristol Crown Court heard that Hancock wrongly believed Mr Cox and other residents there had been threatening and sexually harassing him. On August 9th last year Mr Cox was fatally stabbed.

Consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr John Sandford confirmed Hancock suffered from a condition similar to schizophrenia, in that he held false beliefs despite a lack of evidence.

Mr Cox’s mother, Sue Cox, said after the sentencing that she is satisfied with the sentence because it is attached to the hospital order and he won't be released unless he is deemed fit.

Robert was set to take a business course at the City of Bristol College in Ashley Down, arranged through the Prince's Trust.

Pictured: Top - killer Derek Hancock, who has been jailed for the stabbing and, above, Burnham man Robert Cox


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