KILLER Mark Czapla has been sentenced to 23 years in prison after being found guilty of murdering his former partner Kirsty Humphrey. 

Czapla, 25, was arrested shortly after Miss Humphrey, 23, was found dead at her home, in Queen Elizabeth Way, in September. 

Czapla, who denied murder, was yesterday found guilty by a jury of stabbing mum Miss Humphrey six times in a jealous rage.

He had refused to leave his cell or give evidence during the week-long trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.  

Family and friends have paid tribute to popular Miss Humphrey, saying she can never be replaced.

Mum Nicky Humphrey said: "The past six months have been dreadful as we struggle to come to terms with how Kirsty was taken from us and how our grand-daughter was deprived of her mother."

Czapla, who worked as a groundsman at the time of the murder, did not give evidence to the court. The jury found him guilty based on the evidence they heard. 

Senior Investigating Officer, DCI Simon Werrett, said: "The death of Kirsty Humphrey was premature and should not have happened. Czapla has deprived a family of their daughter and a child of their mother. His actions have affected several lives. He also has not admitted his involvement or showed remorse.

"I wish to again thank the family for their support in this investigation and for my team in bring this dangerous individual to justice.”