A MAN who murdered a former Conservative councillor in a chainsaw attack has been jailed for life.

Jonathan Stasiuk, 60, admitted murdering former councillor Gerry White part-way through his trial at Southampton Crown Court.

He was jailed for life with a minimum of 25 years.

Stasiuk strangled Mr White at Lake Community Gardens, on the Isle of Wight, on May 27.

During the trial, the jury heard that Stasiuk attacked Mr White amid a long-running dispute over "trivial" differences about the running of a 16-acre charity farm.

Matthew Jewell QC, prosecuting, told the jury the men were both trustees of the charity at the site set up for growing vegetables.

He said the pair had fallen out over a number of issues including claims by Stasiuk that Mr White, a publican, had used the site as a "dumping ground" for items for his business.

Mr Jewell said the disagreement also involved a cheque paid to Mr White by the Rotary Club for £3,000 for a roof repair which actually cost £1,300, and a request for the money to be repaid.

The prosecutor said Stasiuk, Pier Street, Sandown, who has since been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, called 999 on the afternoon of May 27 and told the operator he had murdered someone.

Judge Christopher Parker QC said Stasiuk had intended to cut off Mr White's legs with a chainsaw, but the device cut out, leading him to strangle his victim and then smother him to ensure he was dead.

The judge said: "You had obsessed over your perceived, although relatively trivial, grievances that may not have any foundation whatsoever, to such an extent that you allowed them to build up into a form of hatred."

In a victim impact statement read to court, Mr White's widow, Lee White, said: "Losing my husband under such horrific and unbelievable circumstances has led to major shock and anxiety.

"Knowing what he went through is hard to bear, life has changed and cannot be normal again."

Mrs White added: "I have underlying sadness for Gerry but also fury and anger too."

The victim's son Desmond, who has three children, said: "Dad was too generous and accommodating to the wrong people. People often took advantage of him."

Jo Martin QC, defending, said: "Mr Stasiuk knows what he has done, he struggled to comprehend his actions, struggled to come to terms with the madness of those few moments and he is appalled at the consequences of what he has done."