Family welcomes killer’s sentence

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THE family of Christine Henderson have spoken for the first time since seeing her killer caged for life.

Graham Gibson, 47, killed mum-of-three Christine, 50, in July, after stabbing her up to a dozen times with a large kitchen knife.

He was found not guilty of murder after a trial, but convicted of manslaughter after a jury accepted his defence of loss of control.

Gibson, of Kent Avenue, Hartlepool, was jailed at Teesside Crown Court this morning where he was told he must serve a minimum of seven and a half years but was warned by the judge he will not be released until he is deemed not to pose a danger to the public.

Members of Christine’s family were in court to see Gibson jailed, and her brother Mark Horgan welcomed the life sentence.

He said: “Christine had a fun loving, happy, bubbly personality and Graham Gibson took her life in a vicious act of pure selfishness.

“Christine loved her family and was in turn loved by her family very much. Her killing leaves behind a devastated mother, brothers, sisters, children and grandchildren, and it is heartbreaking that she will not be here to meet her fifth grandchild due to be born in only a matter of weeks.

“To lose her in such a violent and brutal way is not only heard for us to bear, but we are unlikely to ever really come to terms with it.

“On behalf of the family, I would like to thank Mr Jamie Hill and Mr Jolyon Perks who prosecuted the case, Cleveland Police, particularly Detective Chief Inspector Rob Donaghy and his team that investigated Christine’s death and especially Judge Simon Bourne Arton for coming to the only sentence suitable for this crime.

“We also wish to thank the family liaison officers, Detective Constable Neil Coverdale and Detective Constable Lynn Purcifer, who have helped and guided us through this very difficult time.

“We hope that at the very least, one result of this trial has been the removal of Graham Gibson from civilised society, a man of the very lowest character, the type that has now been proven to see vulnerable women as targets for his own greed and benefit, that abuses their trust and their generosity for his own selfish ends. This has been and continues to be a devastating time for our family and no matter what the sentence Graham Gibson serves for the brutal killing of Christine, it will never be enough.”

Meanwhile Det Con Donaghy, who led the case, also welcomed the sentence.

He said: “I am satisfied with the sentence that has been handed to Graham Gibson today. His sentence will protect other vulnerable women from him in the future.

“Our thoughts remain with Christine’s family throughout this difficult time. They have shown great dignity and strength throughout the investigation and trial. I hope that the conclusion of the proceedings will now provide some closure to this dreadful situation for them.

“Gibson subjected a helpless woman to a savage and brutal attack. Even after inflicting such horrendous injuries to Christine he made no attempt whatsoever to obtain any medical support; instead his first actions were to steal money from her handbag and dispose of evidence.

“This was a despicable act which shows Gibson’s true colours.

“Graham Gibson poses a high risk of serious harm, in my opinion, to other women with whom he is in relationships with. He seeks to control women and does not accept responsibility for his own actions, instead seeking to blame others for his appalling behaviour.

“He needs to be kept in prison for a long time.”