Tears as killer neighbour convicted

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Published: Thursday 25th June 2015 by The News Editor

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The family of a “loving” wife and mother wept in court as the neighbour who stabbed her more than 33 times over a petty dispute was found guilty of her murder.

Satellite TV engineer Trevor Gibbon, 48, was out for revenge when he armed himself with two knives and ambushed Alison Morrison, 45, as she walked to the station on her way to work on December 18 last year.

He carried out the killing the day after he was handed a restraining order, having pleaded guilty to harassing Mrs Morrison and her family for years, his Old Bailey trial heard.

As she lay dying in the street near her home, Mrs Morrison 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 (160km) away in Lincolnshire, saying he was “heading for the coast”.

Still with dried blood on his hands, 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” which impaired his ability to form rational judgment and exercise self-control.

But the jury rejected his defence and found him guilty after two days of deliberations.

Afterwards, members of the jury of 10 women and one man were reduced to tears as they heard moving statements from Mrs Morrison’s family.

Her tearful husband Cedric told them: “Alison was my best friend, my soulmate, 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, a senior manager at Which?, 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.

“For him to have stabbed my mum at least 35 times, consequently taking her life in an unimaginably excruciating painful way, I fail to see how any prospect of release from prison could be given to him.

“He has essentially given my mum, the person who raised me and whom I considered to be the closest person to me in my life, a life sentence of his own accord.”

Of the loss of his mother, the teenager said: “Every morning, when I wake up, I have to remind myself that my mum is gone. I realise I can never again go into her room to wake her. It breaks my heart every day not to have her with me.

“I so desperately want my mum back and I would do anything to have her here with me again. But I know she’s never coming back and I’ll never see her again. Never speak to her, play with her, enjoy a meal with her, go out with her or do anything ever again with her. All because of one man – Trevor Gibbon – the man who murdered my mum.”

Mrs Morrison’s sister, Lorraine Brathwaite, addressed Gibbon in the dock, saying: “You have directly caused me the most hurt I have ever felt in my entire life.

“I cannot comprehend the pure hatred someone must feel to inflict such a callous, brutal act on another human being. She was so much more than your actions, so, so much more.”

The court had heard that 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 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.

“He seemed to enjoy it, and whenever the police visited they would change their tactics and escalate what they were doing.

“The constant unending harassment despite police and council intervention was draining.

“Even now I don’t believe he knows how to stop doing what he did and fully expect him to start again when he knows things have quietened down.”

Mrs Morrison said she was forced to install £2,000 of CCTV equipment to gather evidence and buy a Go-Pro camera for her husband’s bike helmet.

Giving evidence, 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.

Gibbon, who showed no emotion after he was convicted, will be sentenced next Tuesday.

Published: Thursday 25th June 2015 by The News Editor

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