A MURDERER who killed his own sister faces a life sentence after he changed his plea to guilty on the first day of trial.

The murder trial was called off today when Kevin Shepherd, 55, changed his plea on the same day a jury was set to be sworn in.

Essex Police has now said the victim of the murder, 64-year-old Sharon Butler, was Shepherd’s sister.

The force said it was called to Whitehouse Meadows, in Eastwood, by Kevin Shepherd shortly after 9pm on Tuesday November 7 last year, who claimed he had fought with his sister and she was unconscious.

When police arrived, they found her seriously injured in the garden and covered with a tarpaulin.

A knife in the front garden had also been stabbed into a plant bot.

Despite the best efforts of paramedics, Sharon Butler was declared dead at the scene and Kevin Shepherd was immediately arrested.

Detective Chief Inspector Terry Balding, of the Kent and Essex serious crime directorate, praised the professionalism of the officers who were investigating the murder.

He said: “My team of detectives have shown nothing but professionalism and dedication throughout this sensitive investigation to bring Kevin Shepherd to justice.

“He has admitted causing Sharon’s death and the court will determine the terms of his life sentence.

“My condolences and thoughts continue to remain with Sharon’s remaining family and friendship circle.”

The family of Mrs Butler, 64, previously said in an official statement they had been left “shattered” by her death.

They said: “Our world has been shattered by the loss of our loving daughter and sister.

“Our lives will never be the same without her.

“She never will be forgotten and will be forever in our hearts.”