THE courageous but heartbroken son of a murdered man has faced his father's 'cruel and heartless' killer in court, speaking of the emptiness he feels in the wake of his dad's death.

Christopher Parkinson faced his father Neil's killer, Mark Chilman, at Worcester Crown Court during his sentence hearing today.

Chilman learned he would be spending at least 22 years of his life sentence behind bars, less the time he has spent on remand.

Dressed smartly in a grey suit, father-of-two Christopher described a very different man to the one proven liar Chilman tried to besmirch during his defence.

The handyman struck Mr Parkinson over the head with an unknown weapon and then burned the helpless father, grandfather and carer alive in a lay-by in Ankerdine Road, Cotheridge, near Worcester on December 12 last year.

How we reported the sentence when first announced

Chilman had attempted to paint his victim as a suicidal sex addict leading a 'double life', and who had 'had enough of life' to cover his own tracks.

Instead Mr Parkinson's family described him as a kind, devoted, larger-than-life man who could never do enough for his family, including caring for his 96-year-old mother who battled dementia.

In court, Christopher said: "As a son of Neil for 42 years I speak of the heartfelt emptiness and sadness that I will have had to endure recently and will have to for the rest of my life.

"I've lost my father and my best friend. Noone will replace that, ever. My children Daisy, eight, and Lily, four, have lost their grandfather who they adored and were always so happy to see and be around.

"Myself and my wife Carol and our two girls were fortunate enough to see Neil on the night of December 12 around 5.30pm and as usual he was happy and all smiles so we will cherish that memory forever but we will never be blessed by his presence ever again.

"As a father to me Neil would always be there for me whatever was happening in life. We have been through thick and thin.

"He always showed me support in whatever I wanted to do, nothing was ever a problem to him and he always had a positive, upbeat attitude towards life. He was always a great mate, larger than life character, who will never be forgotten.

"So much has changed for our family. Neil was also a father to my younger brother Jack, 25, and he was a son of my 96-year-old grandmother who he had been living with and who he was devoted to looking after with her dementia condition. She has been left confused and lonely.

"Neil was also a brother to Ian. What happened to my dad was so cruel we as a family can't help but wonder how he must have felt in the last moments of his life.

"Was he alone? Was he afraid? Did he think of us? It leaves us as a family with unbearable pain."

Mr Parkinson turned in the witness box and looked directly at Chilman, raising his voice slightly as he spoke to his father's killer, who did not meet his eyes.

"Mr Mark Andrew Frank Chilman we address you as a murderer, how could you be so heartless? We have so many unanswered questions. Deep down we will never truly know what happened to our dad, grandad, son and brother.

"He didn't deserve to leave the world in the way he did. You left Neil's body in an inhumane way and walked away.

"At least you will have the rest of your life to reflect on your actions that night. Our light in our life has gone off and will shine no more."

Judge James Burbidge QC, who jailed Chilman, expressed his condolences to the family as they looked on from the public gallery.