THE devastated sisters of a man callously murdered in his own home saw justice done when his “laughing and smirking” killers were locked up for a minimum of 23 years.

Jackie Gillett and Susan Whittle spoke of the terrible toll exacted on their day-to-day lives after their brother Paul Gillett was beaten to death.

Mr Gillett was set upon by Freya Parker-Magowan, 44, and Seth Stollery, 48, after the pair arrived at his flat in Station Road, Clacton, in the early hours of Boxing Day morning.

He was subjected to a sustained attack launched with multiple weapons, including a kettle and stool, and suffered a minimum of 73 blows to his body and head.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard the pair then started six separate fires around the flat in a bid to cover up their crime.

Parker-Magowan and Stollery accepted they were the only other people in the flat at the time of the murder, but each sought to blame the other.

They denied murder and arson with intent to endanger life.

Throughout the course of a trial, the court heard Stollery had become enraged when he learned of an on-going relationship between Mr Gillett and Parker-Magowan.

A jury took less than two hours to convict the pair of murder.

Parker-Magowan was also convicted of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered, a charge Stollery admitted on the first day of the trial.

Rudi Fortson QC, mitigating for Parker-Magowan, said his client is due to give birth in two weeks.

He pointed out she had shown remorse in a handwritten letter passed to the judge and said she had a difficult background marred by drug abuse.

Katy Thorne QC, mitigating for Stollery, said her client has four children and had expressed considerable remorse.

“He stands before the court now a man for whom life has gone horribly wrong before this incident ever happened,” she said.

Sentencing the pair to life imprisonment, Judge Charles Gratwick said he had no doubt the couple were “callous and ruthless”.

In a statement read aloud in court, Mr Gillett’s sister Jackie said the two murderers “should never be set free”.

“He still had plenty of years to live and they took all that from him,” she said.

“They should never be allowed out of prison.”

Her sister Susan added: “I needed to attend every day of the trial, I promised Paul I would do it and I did.

“It was so difficult to see them sitting in the dock laughing and smirking, with no sign of any remorse at any time.”

“They took my brother away and did not care.”

Each will serve a 23 year sentence before they are eligible for parole.