MURDERER Stephen Marshall will spend at least 36 years in prison for killing his landlord, dismembering his body and scattering the parts across Hertfordshire.

He was sentenced at St Albans Crown Court this morning, alongside his partner Sarah Bush, who has been given three years and nine months in prison for helping him cover up his crimes.

Thirty-eight-year-old Marshall, formerly of Branch Road, Park Street, stabbed Jeffrey Howe twice in the back on the night of March 8, in the flat they shared in Southgate, north London.

He chopped up the body with skill that impressed a forensic pathologist who examined the remains, and his barrister Peter Doyle told the court today he had dismembered bodies on four previous occasions while working as a nightclub doorman between 1995 and 1998.

He said: "He was not responsible for killing the victims. It was not sensible for him to ask who was, or who they were."

Judge Jeremy Cooke said little credit could be given for Marshall's change of plea on Friday as the evidence against him was overwhelming.

Marshall had told prosecutors he had been on the point of a drug-induced suicide when he stabbed his victim in bed, but the judge said he could not accept this and it was clear the motive was financial gain.

He told the pair: "Following his death, you sought to profit from it without qualms."

Marshall and Bush soon sold their victim's car and furniture, wrote cheques on his bank account and ordered clothes, shoes and food in his name.

But Bush's barrister Peter Lodder said: "Mr Howe had little to offer in terms of personal wealth.

"That only adds to the futility of his death."

Bush, 21, pleaded guilty this morning to two counts of perverting justice by helping Marshall take their victim's head to Leicestershire and telling his brother, friends and police he had moved away.

Mr Lodder said she was dominated by Marshall who, although charming at times, had violent mood swings.

He said apart from accompanying Marshall by car to Leicestershire with the head, she had not disposed of any body parts.

One of the victim's arms was found on a grass verge along Drovers Lane near Wheathampstead, while the torso and other limbs appeared in several places in east Hertfordshire.

The hands have never been found and Judge Cooke said this would make it even harder for the victim's family, especially his mother, to come to terms with his gruesome death.

  • Click on the link below to view our picture gallery. Jigsaw Murder