A MURDERER has been locked up in his cell 23 hours day during the coronavirus pandemic while his depressed uncle has been burgled twice while inside.

Adam Mason of Plough Lane, Tibberton, was given life and jailed for a minimum of 20 years for the murder of his great uncle Desmond Wooding in the 80-year-old's Droitwich home when he appeared at Worcester Crown Court on Monday. The killer's uncle, Mark Mason, was jailed for two years for assisting an offender.

He has been burgled twice while in custody awaiting sentence after guilty verdicts were returned in March. Mr Wooding was stabbed to death by Adam Mason, 33, in his home in Vines Lane on June 23 last year.

The disabled pensioner received 11 stab wounds from a steak knife, four of which by themselves would have proved fatal. David Mason QC, for Adam Mason, said: "The last four months have been, as your Honour will appreciate, extremely difficult. He has been locked up 23 hours a day in Winson Green. No visitors have been allowed. This will continue until they find a vaccine for Covid-19."

Lee Egan, for Mark Mason, said: "His home has been burgled twice because he has been in custody." He said his client, who appeared over videolink from HMP Hewell, had been on a 23 and a half hour lockdown and had experienced 'mental health difficulties' for the first time in his life but had been prescribed antidepressants.

He is also suffering from high blood pressure. Judge Robert Juckes QC said he would have jailed Adam Mason for a minimum of 25 years if he had brought the knife (rather than using Mr Wooding's own knife). Judges are obliged to consider the adverse effects of custodial sentences during the pandemic because of conditions in jail.

The judge said lockdown for Adam Mason 'is not a matter of any great significance' as the defendant was told in March he would receive life. He did take into account the Covid-19 situation when sentencing 56-year-old Mark Mason and bore in mind that he had no relevant previous convictions.