How chance meeting at Shropshire beauty spot led to brutal murder of Staffordshire grandfather

It was a chance meeting at a Shropshire beauty spot which led to the death of a Staffordshire grandfather at the hands of at Stourbridge man.

Victim Richard Hall
Victim Richard Hall

Richard Hall, 70, of Perton, was killed in cold blood by 22-year-old Moses Christensen, while he walked on Brown Clee Hill on August 13 last year.

Christensen was convicted of murder at Stafford Crown Court last month – and today he was sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum term of 28 years. The jury deliberated for less than three hours before rejecting Christensen's claims of diminished responsibility due to his mental state.

Speaking after the sentencing, West Mercia Police senior investigating officer, DCI Mark Bellamy, from West Mercia Police’s Major Investigation Unit, said: “I’m pleased that a significant sentence has been handed to Moses Christensen for the brutal murder of Richard Hall.

“Christensen is a dangerous individual who will now serve a considerable sentence in prison where he cannot cause further harm to the wider public.

Moses Christensen

“Richard Hall’s family have understandably been left shattered, Richard was simply taking a walk on Brown Clee Hill when he was tragically killed in a senseless attack and my thoughts and condolences remain with them.”

During the trial, the court was told details of how Christensen brutally attacked Mr Hall using a combat-style knife.

He had told police he wanted to kill someone "just for the sake of killing somebody" – as a "sort of lifelong desire and ambition".

Home Office-approved pathologist Dr Brett Lockyer said Mr Hall had suffered 26 injuries, including a "horrific" wound to his head and another which had penetrated his skull.

The court also heard Christensen, who had armed himself with two combat knives, was being sought by police at the time – after telling a relative he wanted to kill three teachers.

SOUTH COPYRIGHT SHROPSHIRE STAR STEVE LEATH 14/08/2020..Pic at the top of Brown Clee Hill, Craven Arms, where a body has been found. Temporary toilets were being delivered as officers may be there now for the weekend..

Christensen, who has a history of depression dating back to his early teens, was arrested after knocking on the door of a house in the Burwarton area and telling the occupant he had committed a crime.

After informing police called to the property that he had "cut himself whilst committing a murder", Christensen went on to describe how he had seen Mr Hall emerge "out of the fog" on the hill.

Prosecutor Adrian Keeling QC, had told the jury: "In interview he said this: 'I would like to point out that this wasn't just an outburst of emotion or something'.

"It wasn't a spontaneous event. He said he wanted to do it, in his words, silently... without there being any witnesses."

Christensen, who is said to have autism spectrum disorder and had previously spent periods of time living rough in the countryside, denied murder.

He declined to give evidence at his trial.

Investigators at the top of Brown Clee Hill

In a statement after the jury returned their verdict, the family of Mr Hall, said Christensen was responsible for an "act of pure evil", and that no sentence would give them justice for what happened.

They said: "Richard was a brilliant man in every way, 70 years young, an amazing husband, father and grandad.

"A man with so much to live for whose life was so brutally and senselessly taken away by what can only be described as an act of pure evil, perpetrated by pure evil.

"It beggars belief that this could happen to someone simply talking a walk on a summer's evening in such a remote and beautiful location.

"We as a family have been left shattered by these events and will never fully comprehend what has tragically taken place.

"No sentence imposed by any court could give us complete justice for Richard. A truly wonderful man who was loved, admired and respected by so many people and his memory will never fade."

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