A horror film fanatic who killed his friend in a scene which mirrored one of his favourite spine-chillers has been jailed for life.
Gary George, 41, will serve a minimum of 30 years after he tortured and mutilated Andrew Nall, 53, in a "cruel and sadistic" attack.
George was obsessed with witchcraft and horror films, Chester Crown Court was told. He "particularly" liked to watch The Loved Ones, a 2009 Australian film in which an attack takes place with "chilling similarity" to the death of Mr Nall, the court heard.
George beat his victim and inflicted 49 separate knife wounds, including a wound carved into his stomach which had salt poured onto it. There was also a "creamy substance", thought to be cleaning fluid, found in Mr Nall's eyes, the prosecution said.
His body was discovered lying in a pool of blood in his bedroom at his flat in Liverpool Road, Chester, on August 30 last year.
After the killing George, a homeless alcoholic, went into an off-licence where he told the shop assistant: "I've just killed my best mate." He initially denied the murder but changed his plea to guilty last week as his three-week trial was coming to a close.
Passing sentence, the Recorder of Chester, Judge Elgan Edwards, said: "This was a cruel and vicious attack. It was also a sadistic attack. I am satisfied that in behaving in the way you did, you were aping the conduct in a film of which you were obsessed, namely The Loved Ones."
In an emotional victim impact statement, which was read to the court, Mr Nall's sister Fiona Hall said the family had been left "reeling" by his untimely death.
George was also sentenced to 12 years, concurrent to the life term, for a second attack, which followed the murder of Mr Nall. The court heard he broke a bottle and slashed the hand and head of a man. George was convicted of grievous bodily harm for the second attack, which the Recorder said "caused the most awful injuries to his victim".
Gordon Cole, QC, defending said in mitigation that George had a long history of alcoholism. Although no firm motive for the attack on Mr Nall was ever established, Mr Cole suggested: "Something was said to Mr George which may well have been the catalyst. Set against, of course, the enormous amount of alcohol which had been consumed."