A 'BRUTAL' murderer will be behind bars for at least 20 years after he was handed a life sentence for the 'frenzied' stabbing of a disabled Droitwich pensioner in his own home.

Adam Mason was jailed at Worcester Crown Court yesterday for the murder of his great uncle, 80-year-old Desmond Wooding, following an alleged family feud.

Mason, 33, of Plough Lane, Tibberton showed no emotion when he learned his fate in the dock. The former solider and groundsman still denies killing the pensioner in his bungalow and has yet to give any explanation for the motive or express any remorse.

The muted response in the public gallery was in stark contrast to the reaction to the jury's verdict in March when screams and shouts of anger erupted from Adam Mason's family and friends.

Mason, described as 'powerfully built' by the judge stabbed Mr Wooding 11 times in the frail pensioner's lounge in Vines Lane, Droitwich on June 23 last year, close to the Gardeners Arms where he had been drinking for most of the afternoon.

At least four of the stab wounds were described by the prosecution as ‘potentially fatal’ and the body was discovered by a neighbour who found Mr Wooding ‘lying in a pool of blood’.

The killer’s uncle, Mark Mason, who appeared over videolink from HMP Hewell drove the murderer from the scene. The 56-year-old, also of Plough Lane, Tibberton, was jailed for two years for assisting an offender after helping his nephew cover his tracks.

One of the wounds was 8cm deep as Adam Mason plunged the steak knife into Mr Wooding’s chest, piercing his heart and lungs.

The life sentence imposed by Judge Robert Juckes QC means Adam Mason must serve a minimum of 20 years and will not necessarily be released at the end of that term unless the Parole Board consider it safe to do so.

The motive for the murder was said by the prosecution to be the way Mr Wooding had treated his late wife Maureen, known to the family as Mo, when she was dying of cancer.

Maureen was the sister of Colin Mason, Adam Mason’s grandfather, who was heard to laugh and say 'it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy' when he learned of Mr Wooding's death.

A victim impact statement by Mark Wooding, the victim’s grandson, was read out in court in which he said what had happened ‘still did not feel real’, writing: “It’s like living in a constant nightmare.”

Mr Wooding said he felt like he was ‘on my own now, that I have no-one to turn to’ because the victim had acted like a father to him after his own father died when he was just eight years old.

“This has felt like I have lost my father again” he wrote.

He described how his grandfather supported him financially and was ‘a really good listener’, helping him care for his own children who called him ‘scooter granddad’. He has not yet been able to tell his younger children what has happened.

“I can’t understand why a young man has given up his whole life by killing my granddad. It just does not make sense to me,” he wrote.

Both men were convicted by a majority decision (10-2) of the jury following a three week trial which ended in March. The sentence was delayed because the trial only finished on March 12, not long before the country entered lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic.

The prosecution was led by Adrian Keeling QC who argued that Adam Mason carried out the murder in a 20 minute window after he left the pub at 8.42pm and before calling his uncle and asking him for a lift at 9.04pm.

No forensic evidence linking Adam Mason to the murder was found in the bungalow. The murder weapon, a steak knife belonging to Mr Wooding, was never recovered nor were the clothes Mason was wearing at the time.

Mr Keeling, who called the murder 'determined' and 'frenzied', maintained that the weapon and the defendant’s clothing were disposed of after Adam Mason left the scene with his uncle, Mark Mason, and stopped the car near Droitwich golf course before they drove home.

Adam Mason's phone has also never been found, the killer later claiming he had left it on the plane when he flew out to Tenerife for a pre-booked holiday two days after the murder.

He was arrested at Birmingham Airport when he returned home. When officers told him he was being arrested for the murder of Mr Wooding, Adam Mason replied 'who?'

Mr Wooding had six knives and one was found to be missing. Adam Mason had been in the pub since noon (aside from taking his dog Savvy for a walk) and later told police he had drunk 12 pints.

DNA that was ‘430,000 times more likely to belong to Mr Wooding than anyone else’ was found on Adam Mason’s dog lead. There was no evidence of any defensive wounds on the pensioner’s body.

Mr Keeling described how Adam Mason could be seen on the pub’s CCTV before the murder being ‘boisterous’, knocking a glass to the floor and arguing with another customer.

Judge Robert Juckes QC said the character references he had received on behalf of Adam Mason made the killing of Mr Wooding ‘all the more incomprehensible’.

Judge Juckes said: “He still denies it and has never explained what motive caused this. What the rancour was you harboured against your great uncle, Desmond Wooding, I don’t know and it hasn’t been clear in this case.”

However, the judge said it had been suggested there was ‘some sort of falling out’ with Adam Mason’s family over his troubled marriage to the defendant’s grandfather’s sister.

The judge described Mr Wooding as a disabled man of 80 who used a mobility scooter at the time he was attacked. “Nothing that has been said begins to justify what followed” said the judge.

Detective Inspector Mark Walters of the West Mercia Police Major Investigation Unit said: “Adam Mason is clearly a dangerous individual and today’s sentence reflects the horrific nature of the crime. I hope today’s outcome will provide some comfort to Mr Wooding’s family that justice has been done. I also hope that it will provide a small sense of closure for them.

“This was a cold and brutal crime for which Adam Mason has never shown any remorse. Sadly, we may never know exactly what happened in the moments leading up to this horrific attack on an elderly and vulnerable man. Mark Mason will also face justice for the part he played in this awful crime.”