Bottle murderer jailed
A murderer living in Stafford on licence who befriended a drug addict then battered him to death with a champagne bottle is today behind bars for the rest of his life.
Stafford Crown Court heard Michael Smith robbed his second victim of £8,000 and then took an ex-girlfriend on a spending spree in Wolverhampton.
More than 30 years ago Smith was jailed for life for the murder of his then partner, after she taunted him over sex.
His latest victim was Peter Summers, left to die in his Stoke-on-Trent flat after being repeatedly hit over the head with a champagne bottle while Smith and his friend were out buying jewellery.
Mr Nigel Baker QC, prosecuting, said all that was recovered of the £8,000 was around £800 worth of jewellery, even though Smith handed himself in a week later.
Smith, aged 52, who was living at a bail hostel in Lichfield Road while on parole, pleaded guilty to murdering Mr Summers, 35, in August of last year.
Passing sentence yesterday Mr Justice Nelson told him: "It was a brutal killing of a former friend to enable you to steal a substantial sum of money you had earlier seen him counting. Murder is a dreadful crime, what is truly shocking in your case is that this is the second time you have committed it."
The judge gave Smith the obligatory life sentence and told him the minimum tariff would be one of a whole life order.
Mr Baker told the court that Smith had befriended heroin user Mr Summers in early August.
At one point Smith stayed at Mr Summer's address in Squires View and while there saw him counting out the money, which belonged to Mr Summers' partner Sarah Welch, who was away on holiday.
On August 17 he crept into Mr Summer's bedroom with the intention of stealing the money, but when Mr Summers awoke he hit him over the head with the bottle.
Smith then returned to Stafford, visited former girlfriend Caroline Hulme and told her he was "in big trouble" – then took her on the shopping spree.
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