PATRICIA Hindle was today sentenced to life for murdering Michael Redpath by setting his Albion Street house on fire.

She will have to serve a minimum of 20 years before parole will be considered, a judge at Winchester Crown Court said.

Mr Justice Holgate QC told Hindle, who was convicted on Wednesday, said: "By unanimous verdict the jury has convicted you of the murder of Michael Redpath.

"Michael Redpath lived on Albion Street since 2010. First he had a job but then he became a heavy drinker and unemployed, living off his pension.

"Witnesses were concerned that women were taking advantage of him and his money.

"You met him two or three weeks before his death. There was, in my judgement, an exploitative side to the relationship."

Mr Justice Holgate QC described how, on the day of the killing on September 10, 2014, witnesses had heard Hindle argue with Mr Redpath outside his home.

The court heard that after entering the house, Hindle took Mr Redpath's keys from his pocket as he lay intoxicated on the sofa.

After the pair allegedly argued again, Mr Redpath went upstairs to bed and Hindle set fire to one of his shirts before throwing it at the bottom of the stairs.

Hindle, of Crombey Street, locked the front door behind her and was arrested later that evening on Manchester Road, a street in Swindon notorious for prostitution.

Mr Justice Holgate QC said: "You claimed to your neighbour after the incident that Mr Redpath had raped you.

"A medical examination took place the next day - this did not happen.

"After speaking to your neighbour you went to Manchester Road to work as a prostitute. At no point did you give any thought to helping Mr Redpath."

He added: "It was a horrific act, even if your intention was only to scare him.

"It is likely to have been terrifying for the victim.

"You deliberately moved Mr Redpath's keys from his pocket and locked the front door. In his intoxicated state you reduced his chance of escape."

Mr Justice Holgate QC said that he had taken into account the mitigating factors of the 'wretched' life Hindle had led as a child and the abusive relationships she had experienced with ex-partners.

William Mousely QC, prosecuting, said that Mr Redpath was survived by his mother and his sister Dawn Wiltshire.

He said: "Michael Redpath's mother has died recently. 

"His sister said their mother never really got over the loss of Michael."

In a statement read out by Mr Mousely QC, Dawn said: "I am so sad and angry about the way his life came to an end.

"I feel heart broken, I have been scarred by what has happened. This is something that I will have to live with.

"It is like a nightmare. I would not wish this on my worst enemy.

She added: "Michael was a clever, talented man and a real character."

The jury rejected the defence argument that Hindle should be convicted of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility rather than murder, due to her mental state at the time of the killing.

Medical experts who gave evidence during the three week trial agreed that Hindle suffers from Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder.

Mr Redpath died as a result of the fire from severe burns and smoke inhalation.

Speaking outside the court, Detective Sergeant Don Pocock of Swindon CID, said: "There are no winners in this case, it is a tragic incident.

"Mr Redpath was a vulnerable male who was taken advantage of.

"He died in horrific circumstances and his family have been deeply affected by what has happened.

"I would like to thank all the members of the public who helped with the investigation, particularly the residents of Albion street."

Hindle had denied murder.

Bernadette Kearney, Senior Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service Wessex, said: "It is not clear what pushed Patricia Hindle to kill Michael Redpath, whom she had befriended.

"It would appear that an argument took place between them on the evening of 10 September 2014 as a result of which  she decided to set a fire downstairs in his home while he was upstairs in his bedroom, locking the front door behind her. Michael was unable to escape the fire.

"Michael was an alcoholic and, as a result, was very vulnerable and  was easily taken advantage of. Patricia Hindle knew this. 

"After the fire was set, she calmly left Michael alone in the property locking the front door. She went home and spoke to one of her neighbours telling him “I’ve killed him….I’ve burnt him, I’ve set fire to his house”.  

"When she left her neighbour she told him not to tell anyone. From the window he saw her go into an alleyway.  He immediately called the police and Patricia Hindle was arrested. 

"The police later found Michael’s house keys and his post office banking card in a drain in the alleyway.

"Patricia Hindle’s actions have left Michael Redpath’s mother and sister heartbroken.  My thoughts are with them at this time.”