Tower block killing and robbery: 2 jailed

Echo: Killer – John Nafzger Killer – John Nafzger

A VICIOUS killer described as a danger to the public has been jailed indefinitely.

John Nafzger, 40, forced his way into Christopher Ryan’s home at Malvern flats, in Coleman Street, Southend, to steal cannabis he was growing.

He was backed up by Christopher Walker, who was planning to help.

However, a scuffle broke out, during which Mr Ryan, 45, is believed to have been stabbed in his right ear with a pair of scissors.

He suffered major bleeding in his brain and a broken nose. He was later found by a neighbour in his blood-splattered flat, on November 17, 2011.

A jury at Southwark Crown Court rejected a murder charge against the pair, but found Nafzger guilty of manslaughter and robbery, while Walker was found guilty of robbery.

Nafzger of Westbury Road, Southend, will serve a minimum of seven years. Walker, 24, of Mansted Gardens, Rochford , will serve five years.

Det Insp Martin Pasmore, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, was the senior investigating officer.

He said after the trial: “John Nafzger has a long history of violence and drug-related crime. “Hopefully, the indeterminate sentence will ensure he is not released until he is no longer a danger to the public, and in particular to vulnerable people like Christopher Ryan.

“I hope Mr Ryan’s family will gain a level of closure from this sentence and can move on with their lives.”

He said Walker had been given a lighter sentence because he had not been involved in the attack.

He said: “The judge accepted Walker played no part in the violence used against Mr Ryan and he was led by Nafzger into committing the robbery, and the sentence reflects this. “I hope without the influence of Nafzger, Walker carves out a decent life for himself when he is released from prison.”

The jury was told Nafzger and Walker had waited for their victim, until he returned home with a pint of milk and a fried chicken dinner.

They then made their move – and Nafzger’s violent streak overtook him.

He was sentenced in 1996 to ten years in prison for grievous bodily harm after he stabbed his victim in the eye with a wine glass.

He was jailed for eight weeks in May 2010 for battery, and has been in and out of custody since 1984.

Mr Ryan was vulnerable because he was a drug addict and had become estranged from his family.

Ian Elkins, acting district crown prosecutor, said: “We are very pleased with the outcome.

“Indeterminate sentences are used for the protection of the public, and we are pleased this has been passed, so the risk Nafzger poses to society has been addressed.

“Our sympathies are with Mr Ryan’s family.”

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