A MAN has been convicted of murdering his landlord in a gruesome attack in Bensham.
Tenant Karl Bestford stabbed and mutilated Simon Meech in a row over unpaid rent.
Former slaughterman Bestford was on trial accused of killing Mr Meech at the flat he rented from him in Bensham, Gateshead.
The 35-year-old denied the charge but a jury at Newcastle Crown Court found him guilty.
Mr Meech's family issued a statement after the trial saying: "Simon was an incredible man, so deeply loved by all his family and friends.
"Our loss of him in July 2012 completely devastated our lives and left us utterly heartbroken.
"We would like to thank everyone who has, and continues to support us through this horrendous time, as well as Northumbria Police who have shown incredible professionalism and compassion towards the case and our family.
"We have been left with such a painful emptiness in our lives that anyone who knew Simon would know the extent of.
"Simon's children have been robbed of the most wonderful father - to us this is far and above the most painful and tragic part of our loss."
Previously, the trial heard from a pathologist that whoever killed Mr Meech had inflicted a gruesome injury to his neck.
When police got to the scene, Mr Meech’s head was partially detached and his feet and calves had been wrapped in a bin liner while his legs were tied together with parcel tape.
Dr Mark Egan told Newcastle Crown Court: “Most of the wounds to the neck occurred after the heart had stopped beating.
“There was a clot in the blood vessels of the neck which raised the possibility at least one of the wounds was inflicted in life.
“It would have been apparent to the person whether he was alive or dead.”
He added Mr Meech had suffered 10 stab wounds to his torso and other knife injuries to his arm and leg.
Bestford had also slashed Mr Meech’s palm after he had died.
Bestford had fallen behind with his rent when Mr Meech went round to collect some money from him one night last July. Bestford stabbed him in the living room of the property.
PC Sarah Curry was among the officers who arrived at the flat. She told the court: “I saw a man lying on his back on the kitchen floor.
“His lower legs from the knees down, including his feet, were covered in black bin bags which were wrapped round.”
She said there was blood all over the flat, although it appeared attempts had been made to clean it up.
The court heard Mr Meech, 46, from Whickham, Gateshead, was a district manager for Blockbuster who had built up a portfolio of eight properties which he rented out.
Bestford, who was working for a distribution company at the time, was renting one of those properties on Raleigh Grove for £395 a month.
But Bestford, who owed more than £11,000 after two county court judgements, had fallen behind with his rent. On July 28 his wife found out about his financial plight, sparking a row.
Mr Meech was due to visit Bestford the following day to collect his rent but the arrangement was changed to 9.30pm that night.
Before the emergency services turned up, Bestford fled the scene in Mr Meech’s car.
He later rang police and claimed Mr Meech had pulled a knife on him during a row. He said he had grabbed it off him and stabbed him.
He told police: “I just saw red and I stabbed and stabbed and stabbed him.”
But the jury dismissed these lies.
DCI Paul Young, who led the murder enquiry, said: "This was a savage attack on a respectable member of the community who was simply going about his business.
“A dedicated team of detectives carried out a detailed investigation and this conviction means a dangerous and violent man will be off the streets for a considerable time.
“Our thoughts remain with Mr Meech’s family and friends who have shown great dignity throughout the investigation and I would like to thank them for their assistance.”
Bestford will be facing life in prison when he is sentenced tomorrow.