An 'evil' handyman sexually obsessed with the woman who rejected him faces a life sentence for the brutal murder of his love rival.

Mark Chilman bludgeoned Neil Parkinson over the head with an unknown weapon before burning the helpless father and grandfather alive but unconscious in his own car.

The 'callous' handyman was yesterday unanimously convicted of the murder of Mr Parkinson, the man who had replaced him in the affections of his former partner, Juliet Adcock.

The 52-year-old lay in wait near a farm gate on that dark winter's night before hitting Mr Parkinson over the head from behind with an object which has never been recovered.

It was a heavy blow struck with a weighty force, causing a depressed fracture to the base of Mr Parkinson's skull and would have incapacitated him.

Dubbed the 'layby lurker', Chilman then drove Mr Parkinson in the victim's black BMW X5 to a layby at Ankerdine Road, Cotheridge, near, Worcester where he set man and car on fire during the killing on December 12 last year.

Fierce as it was, the fire failed to obscure, as Chilman had hoped, evidence of the earlier blow to the head which had left his victim defenceless.

Judge James Burbidge QC told Chilman: "The jury have convicted you by unanimous verdict on cogent evidence of the killing of Mr Parkinson whose character you have set out to besmirch during this trial."

Before he was led down into the cells, Chilman was told that a sentence of 'life imprisonment' was the 'only sentence' that awaited him.

However, the judge still has to set the earliest date the killer can be considered for release by the Parole Board.

The jury of nine men and three women arrived back into court at around 10.50am when the foreman stood up and announced the guilty verdict. It follows a trial at Worcester Crown Court which began last Monday.

There was only a slight delay in the verdict being announced to allow family members time to return to the public gallery and observe.

Ordered to stand in the dock, the defendant, dressed in a checked shirt with rolled up sleeves, lowered his head and closed his eyes as he learned his fate.

The jury retired shortly after 2pm on Wednesday, returning the unanimous guilty verdict after three hours and nine minutes spent deliberating.

Chilman of Old Post Office, Pencombe, near Bromyard lay in wait before he ambushed the 66-year-old, striking him over the back of the head with something with a straight edge and using a weighty force as he was closing the gate of Giltedge Farm in Broadwas.

Mr Parkinson had been on his way home to Clifton upon Teme where he lived, caring for his elderly mother who has dementia, after spending a romantic evening with Ms Adcock, bringing the two a takeaway from the New Inn in Clifton and watching Strictly with her at the farm.

The extent of the fractures meant medical experts could not be certain what weapon was used to strike the blow but it was clear that 'substantial force' had been used and that the object had a straight edge, similar to what you might find on a hammer.

The father-of-two's blood was found on the gatepost, a broken plant pot and the victim's keyring and a combination lock on the ground providing further evidence of the deadly struggle.

Chilman used around 40 litres of petrol from two stolen jerry cans to set him on fire in the driver's seat of his car, deliberately centring the inferno around his body and staging it to look like he committed suicide.

Chilman sent what the prosecution called a 'suicide text' to Ms Adcock, purporting to be from Mr Parkinson using 'another phone' at 10.17pm on the night of his death. At 10.30pm fire crews, who found the body, were alerted by neighbours to the blaze.

Ms Adcock in her evidence said she knew the text was from Chilman because of the 'appalling' spelling and grammar. She also recognised other phrases that Mr Parkinson would never have used because he was 'a gentleman'.

Appearing as a witness during the trial, she said Mr Parkinson thought the world of his mother, caring for her as she battled dementia, and would not have referred to her as a 'burden' which was how she was described in the text.

The message took the form of a 'confession' in which Chilman, pretending to be Mr Parkinson, wrote: "I lead a double life. I use and abuse woman (sic). It goes like this. I've been taking women of (sic) there (sic) partners and husband's (sic) for a very long time and I get a buss (sic) from it."

In the message Chilman claimed his victim had a form of sexual addiction called 'satyriasis' and urged Ms Adcock to 'go back to him' (Chilman). Even in death, Chilman had attempted to 'blacken' the name of Mr Parkinson, prosecutor Mark Heywood QC had said.

Mr Parkinson's son, Christopher told the jury his 'loving father' did not suffer from depression or mental health problems and was 'very happy' with his life before his death.

The 42-year-old described Chilman as 'evil' and 'calculating' in contrast to his father who was a 'loving, caring, happy person' and could not have been further removed in character from the man the defendant tried to portray him to be.

The jury heard how Chilman had left love messages in lipstick on Ms Adcock's mirrors at Giltedge Farm in Broadwas where he had once lived with her.

He also left a noose to 'hang himself', a sledgehammer and other macabre trinkets at the farm including a plaque with the name of dogs that had died, Ms Adcock taking photos of the items.

He also put a tracking device on her car because he suspected she was 'having an affair' and took photos of her car when it was parked outside Mr Parkinson's home.

Police also found items of her clothing, including her underwear, during a search of the defendant's home.

He kept them under his pillow and had sprayed her sweater with the brand of perfume she used, 'cuddling' her top and using it as a 'comfort blanket', telling police he 'loved her to bits'.

Chilman also sent a text to his friend Andy Underwood, telling him to say he was having a Chinese with him if he was asked where he had been.

Chilman told him: "I'm ready to go down for it. I have nothing left."

Chilman's sentence has been adjourned until 10am on Monday. He was remanded in custody where he has been since his arrest.