David Wilson's murderer jailed for life after stabbing Sunderland grandad seven times

A killer who stabbed a stranger to death in his bed will serve at least 23 years behind bars.

Daniel Johnson killed David Wilson, who was 49 and a former special police constable, at his home in Southwick, Sunderland, in the early hours of December 14 2014.

David Wilson and, inset, Daniel Johnson. Picture: Northumbria Police.

David Wilson and, inset, Daniel Johnson. Picture: Northumbria Police.

The 21-year-old killer, who has a long list of convictions for violence and dishonesty, denied murder during a month-long trial at Newcastle Crown Court but was found guilty by a jury earlier today (Wednesday, July 12).

Mr Justice Males sentenced Johnson to life behind bars - and said he must serve a minimum term of 23 years before he can apply for parole.

Johnson was arrested in June last year, while serving a 30 month sentence for kidnapping a 12-year-old boy from Felling Metro station so he could take his phone and attack him.

The court also heard during the trial Johnson had mugged Mr Wilson's partner, Scott Hoyle, in the street and then used his keys to get into the couple's flat, where he carried out the killing.

Mr Wilson lost his life in December 2014. Picture: Northumbria Police.

Mr Wilson lost his life in December 2014. Picture: Northumbria Police.

The judge said Johnson had been in the area of Mr Wilson's home "looking for opportunities to burgle and steal" and that his attack was "vicious and savage" on a defenceless man.

He added: "It is clear from the defensive injuries to his hands which David Wilson sustained that for at least part of this attack he was awake and conscious of what you were doing to him.

"The victim was in his own bed. He presented no threat to you. It was unnecessary for you to go upstairs to his bedroom in order to commit your burglary.

"Having done so, there was nothing to prevent you from leaving if he woke up and saw you.

Daniel Johnson must serve at least 23 years in prison. Picture: Northumbria Police.

Daniel Johnson must serve at least 23 years in prison. Picture: Northumbria Police.

"Instead, you took a knife from the kitchen, which you can only have done with the intention of using it.

"You did use it on a man who, for a short while at least, was conscious of your attack."

The judge added that Johnson, who was only 18 at the time of the murder, has shown no remorse for what he did.

Mr Wilson's grieving daughter Tara Wilson spoke in a victim impact statement about the heartbreak the loss of her dad has caused the whole family.

She said her dad, who was a former shopping centre manager and ticket inspector as well as being a special police constable for six years, was a "fun and positive" man.

Miss Wilson said Christmases at her home, with her family and young children, will always be marred by memories of the murder and the fact her dad will not get to see his grandchildren grow up or be there at her forthcoming wedding.

Miss Wilson said her father was "excited" about his relationship with Mr Hoyle and that he had found someone to settle down with.

Read more about the David Wilson case below:

Jury convicts Daniel Johnson of David Wilson's murder

Police: We may never know why killer murdered David Wilson

David Wilson and killer were complete strangers

How the investigation into David Wilson's murder unfolded