Published: 16:54, 30 April 2019
| Updated: 13:06, 01 May 2019
A 49-year-old man has been convicted of murdering his houseguest after an early morning row.
A jury at Maidstone Crown Court took a few hours before finding Trevor Brazier guilty of strangling his homeless pal.
The trial took a dramatic turn today when a Broadstairs woman called police after reading our report on the horror killing.
Now a jury has ruled the death of Kevin Tridgell at Mr Brazier's home in Northdown Avenue, Cliftonville, was murder.
He will be sentenced on Thursday morning.
Kim Matthews called officers after the trial had started, having read about the case.
She told how weeks before the murder she had witnessed an incident in May last year when the victim was threatened by Brazier.
Ms Matthews told a jury how she recorded on her mobile phone an incident in which Brazier taunts the victim about being homeless.
"Mr Tridgell had not shown any signs of causing issues..." Detective Constable Jo Bird
She alleged Brazier threatened that if the homeless Mr Tridgell did not leave the area would return with a Stanley knife and slit his throat.
Brazier, of Northdown Avenue, Margate, had denied murder but did not give evidence from the witness box.
As his trial opened last week, Maidstone Crown Court was told Brazier called police three times on the night of June 2 last year.
Police video footage shown to the jury revealed Brazier telling officers: “I’ve never killed someone before. Seriously, I haven’t. I’m not joking. This is the first time.
Officers discovered Mr Tridgell lying unconscious on a bed. He later died in hospital.
Prosecutor Catherine Donnelly heard how police officers were called to the flat shortly after 1.30am by Brazier.
They discovered Mr Tridgell drunk and asleep on a sofa and, after paramedics examined him, they suggested he be allowed to sleep it off.
Police told the agitated Brazier it would be unfair for Mr Tridgell to be dumped onto the streets and said they did not have the powers to eject the 38-year-old.
Hours later a neighbour heard the two men arguing and Brazier demanding his friend leave.
Mr Tridgell was heard saying: “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” before it went silent, the court heard.
“I’ve never killed someone before. Seriously, I haven’t. I’m not joking. This is the first time..." - what Trevor Brazier told police after murdering Kevin Tridgell
Later, Brazier called the police telling how he had strangled Mr Tridgell in an act of self-defence.
He claimed Mr Tridgell had woken up and pestered him to buy more alcohol.
Brazier claimed during the argument Mr Tridgell produced a knife and tried to attack him.
The jury heard how the two had been drinking at the flat.
Following the initial call and visit by officers, Brazier called police again at 3.28am asking for Mr Tridgell to be removed.
He told them: “I’ve got a job to do in the morning. I’m an electrician. He might wake up and nick things.”
Police returned to the flat following a third call at 6am, and discovered the body of Mr Tridgell.
Brazier covered his eyes in the dock as the jury was shown police body-worn footage in which he told officers: “You can drag him out - just get rid of him. I’ve asked you nicely.”
Ms Donnelly said police found a blue-handled knife under Mr Tridgell’s body.
Investigating officer, Detective Constable Jo Bird, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "Our officers had spoken to Brazier several times earlier that night, explaining the right course of action for his friend was to be allowed to sleep until the morning.
"Mr Tridgell had not shown any signs of causing issues, and in fact had not woken during previous visits to the flat by emergency services.
"But, fuelled by alcohol, Brazier instead attacked the man he had earlier invited into his home and it had only tragic consequences."