A KILLER was jailed for life following the Canvey murder of dad-of-two Matt Portwood last February.

Matt Portwood, 42, died after being stabbed in the neck outside the Haystack Pub in Furtherwick Road, in the early hours of Saturday, February 4.

Jamie Lewis, 25, of Bensham Lane, Croydon, was convicted at Basildon Crown Court on October 10 after a jury found him guilty of murder.

Lewis appeared in the same court on Thursday, January 11, for sentencing.

Cyrus Shroff, prosecuting, opened the hearing.

He said: “Matthew Portwood was a customer of the Haystack Pub and on the night of February 3 an argument broke out with door staff and customers refused entry.

“The altercation gradually escalated and moved away from the venue door into the Iceland car park next door.

“During the altercation Mr Portwood was stabbed twice by Mr Lewis and there were two stab wounds.

“One to the back of head and another to the left side of the neck cutting across the jugular vein and carotid artery causing uncontrollable bleeding and resulting in Mr Portwood’s death.”

A month-long trial started on September 12 with prosecuting barrister Cyrus Shroff pointing to Jamie Lewis as the killer.

Members of the jury heard Lewis attempted to re-enter the Haystack pub covered in blood to buy a drink, but was refused service.

Following the trial, Lewis was found guilty of murder and possession of a bladed article.

John Cooper, mitigating, said: “Nothing I say should be intended to take away from the tragedy of this matter.

“Our assertion is the defendant did not intend to kill Mr Portwood.

“If the defendant had intended to tragically kill, one would have expected the defendant would have made himself scarce after.

“That’s not on factual evidence of this case your honour has, your honour has the defendant going back to the pub and spending some time even asking for a drink.

“He goes to bathroom to clean himself up and then after he’s cleaned up goes back and stays at the pub.”

His Honour Judge Ian Graham oversaw proceedings.

He said: “The reason Matt Portwood lost his life last year is because of the increasingly pervasive habit of young men carrying knives.

“I see that in this court and it can be seen in the courts of Essex and across south east England.

“When people carry knives an ordinary punch up outside a pub ends up in something much more serious.”

Lewis was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 23 years and 30 days. He was also handed an 18-month sentence for possession of a bladed article to run concurrently.