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30 June 2015, 13:38
A "bad neighbour'', originally from Birmingham who repeatedly stabbed the woman living next door in a "merciless act of vengeance'' over 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, 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, 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.
Sentencing today, 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 in an ``eerie prequel'' of what was to come.
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''.
The jury was shown a hand-written statement made days before the killing in which Mrs Morrison said: ``It got so bad that I could not sleep properly as I felt it would never end.''
In his defence, Gibbon sobbed as he told the jury of the running ``tit-for-tat'' dispute he had waged with his neighbours.
But he was dry-eyed as he went on to describe being ``hazy'' when he attacked Mrs Morrison and could not remember what was running through his mind.
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.''
He told how his wife had supported him through ill health as a result of a kidney transplant and was a ``loving and supportive'' mother to their son, Kori.
She also volunteered with the local police, working to make the community safer, and, as a mark of respect, officers had lined up to salute her funeral procession.
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.''