A homeless man has been jailed for life after he confessed to beating a waiter to death with a marble ashtray almost 40 years ago.
Anthony Kemp, 59, had been 21 when he met victim Christopher Ainscough, 50, on a night out in December 1983.
Dublin-born Mr Ainscough had invited Kemp back to his home in Kilburn, north-west London, during the early hours of the morning.
Kemp then attacked him on the sofa, causing him devastating head injuries including a fractured skull, the Old Bailey heard.
His body was found when he failed to turn up for work, but the original investigation found no leads and was closed in 1985.
Kemp got away with the murder for almost 40 years – until he turned up at Chiswick police station to confess on July 28 last year.
He told an officer he had murdered someone 40 years ago, saying he had “bashed his brains in” over an argument.
Kemp said: “I’m not going to live on the f** streets, that’s a fact. I’d rather the Government look after me.
“I’d rather do the last few years of my life in bang-up than sleep on the streets.”
He added: “For 40 years I got away with it and now I’m owning up to it.”
Kemp, who was previously an alcoholic and heroin user, said Mr Ainscough had been “sparko” after the first blow and he was “at his head going bosh, bosh, bosh”.
He also told them he had spent five minutes using a cloth to wipe down everything he had touched, including the 2.4kg ashtray, a glass and a door handle, the court was told.
Three days later he retracted his confession, and blamed the murder on his accomplice in an aggravated burglary in 1988, who had killed himself in prison.
But police found Kemp’s DNA on a cigarette butt left in an ashtray on a coffee table in Mr Ainscough’s sitting room.
Kemp pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 15 and a half years at the Old Bailey on Thursday.
The court heard he had previous convictions for burglary and possession of a knuckle duster in 1980.
In 1988, he also smashed up a flat in Northumbria which he shared with a girlfriend who said he had a “violent temper”, and he was jailed for an aggravated burglary the same year.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, a close friend of Mr Ainscough described him as a “very special person”.
The woman, who asked not to be named, said: “Chris was a kind, generous, caring and funny man. We just adopted him.
“He was charming and had the extraordinary ability to get on with anybody and everybody.
“What someone did to my beautiful friend was devastating.”