Killer Christopher Graham jailed for 26 years for the 'horrific and brutal' murder of Simon Bowman

A murderer who left a grandfather's fingers and toes "scattered" on the floor next to his mutilated body after "revenge" killing has been jailed for life.

Friday, 31st January 2020, 11:25 am
Updated Friday, 31st January 2020, 4:11 pm

Simon Bowman suffered a shocking catalogue of over 100 sites of injury, including 30 to his head and neck, caused by more than one weapon.

The 54-year-old's fingers and toes may have been removed with secateurs, both before and after he died, he had deep stab wounds and his throat had been cut.

Christopher Graham, of Washington, admitted killing his victim during a trial at Newcastle Crown Court last year but claimed he acted in self defence.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Christopher Graham, jailed for the murder of Simon Bowman at Newcastle Crown Court.

The 30-year-old told jurors he had picked up a "heavy object" to protect himself at a time when he thought Mr Bowman, who he was staying with, was about to rape or kill him but said he remembered nothing about the killing itself.

Graham was found guilty of murder after less than an hour deliberation by a jury.

Judge Paul Sloan QC today said he rejected outright that Graham had acted in self defence during the killing and said he must serve at least 26 years behind bars before he can apply for parole.

The judge said Mr Bowman may have caused a superficial wound to Graham's arm earlier that night but that the killer then waited to "execute a terrible revenge".

Simon Bowman was 54 when he died at the hands of his best friend Christopher Graham.

Judge Sloan said Graham had waited until Mr Bowman was "vulnerable and defenceless" as he lay prone on the sofa before he launched the "sustained as well as particularly horrific and brutal attack upon him."

The judge told him: "It was an attack that involved three weapons, in all likelihood a hammer, a knife and a pair of secateurs.

"In all, there were 113 sites of external injury. At some of those sites there were multiple injuries.

"You began by targeting the head and face, striking the deceased repeatedly to the head and face with the hammer.

Police and forensic officers outside the flat where Simon Bowman was murdered by Christopher Graham in High Street, Jarrow, last May.

"There were 26 sites of injury to the head and face. At some of those sites there were multiple injuries.

"Some of the blows were struck with severe force, causing multiple fractures of the facial bones, including fractures of the upper and lower jaws and cheekbone and multiple fractures of the skull, causing a hollow where the middle of the face should be.

"The blows resulted in catastrophic brain injury.

"You also delivered multiple blows with the hammer, to the chest of the deceased, causing multiple rib fractures.

"It was those injuries to the head and chest which ultimately resulted in death.

"In addition, you inflicted more than 20 incised wounds, wounds caused by a sharp implement, such as a knife, to his torso, as well as upper and lower limbs.

"Using another implement, in all likelihood secateurs, you removed four toes from the left foot and tried to remove a fifth from that foot.

"All those injuries were inflicted while the deceased was still alive, though, mercifully, he would have been unconscious following the first severe blow to the head with the hammer.

"In my judgement, he was rendered unconscious at a very early stage, given the virtual absence of any defence injuries.

"Accordingly, the deceased was defenceless at the time you launched the attack and in no position to defend himself from a very early stage.

"The violence was relentless, methodical. He would have died some 30 minutes after the first severe blow to the head.

"At about the time of death, after 30 minutes or so, you removed the tips of three fingers of the left hand and tried to remove a fourth finger of that hand.

"After the death, after the 30 minutes had elapsed, you continued to attack and mutilate the deceased, continued to strike with the hammer, blows to the left knee, and a very large number of incised wounds after death, in excess of 80 to the limbs and torso and also across his neck.

"Those wounds were caused by a sharp implement such as a knife.

"You also removed, amputated, the tips of all five digits of the deceased's right hand and all five toes of the right foot.

"It was clear from the level of violence your intention was to kill."

Judge Sloan said the killing was "particularly brutal and savage" and there was "desecration" of the body.

The judge said both men had taken a "cocktail" of drink and drugs before the violence flared.

Paul Greaney QC, defending, said the killing was "bizarre and grotesque" and added there had been "some provoking" from Mr Bowman.

The court had heard during the trial Mr Bowman had previous convictions and had just got out of prison.

Mr Greaney said Graham has a history of mental health problems as a result of schizophrenia and the attack was "spontaneous", not planned.