Charles Riddington has been jailed for 19 years for the murder of George Barker in a Bexley gym on November 14, 2016.

Riddington, a 37-year-old dad-of-two, stood with his hands behind his back and did not react as he was given a life sentence for the murder of 24-year-old Mr Barker.

Judge Nigel Lickley QC described the stabbing as a “vicious attack” in which Mr Barker suffered “horrendous” wounds as he “retreated away” from Riddington.

He said: “George Barker was 24 when he died. He was a young man with his entire life ahead of him.

“In total, there were 17 injuries caused by the knife. George Barker knew he was injured because he asked for an ambulance.”

While Mr Barker lay dying at the entrance to the gym, Judge Lickley told Riddington he had got “into a vehicle and leave the scene.”

A jury unanimously cleared Riddington of possession of a knife on the day Mr Barker was murdered inside the Double K Gym in Bexley Village.

However the judge told the defendant that, regardless of who had arrived with the knife that morning, he “chose to use that dangerous weapon with such devastating effect” when he came to possess it.

He also concluded Riddington had arrived at the gym that morning and waited for Mr Barker to arrive, before leaving after the attack and washing the clothes he was wearing at the time, before planning to leave the UK.

During the trial, the court heard how Riddington flew to Dusseldorf the day after the murder, before settling in South Africa and visiting his family in North Cyprus.

He was arrested in Cyprus last year and extradited back to the UK on November 8, 2018.

The judge told the defendant he had "waited for George Barker to arrive” on the day of the murder.

Referring to the baby girl born days before George was murdered, the judge said: “There is a small child that will grow up without a father because of your actions.”

However, he acknowledged that Riddington himself had a "close bond to his children" and that he had shown remorse for his actions during the trial.

Orlando Pownall QC, defending, quoted a statement from Riddington's wife, Rebecca, who said: "My husband left home with his keys and gym bag and returned with a life sentence."

Mr Barker's mum Julie Underwood wrote a victim impact statement on behalf of herself and her two daughters, read out in court by prosecutor Catherine Pattison QC.

“To put pen to paper and write these words is the most difficult and painful thing I’ve ever had to do,” the statement read.

“The gruesome, torturous details that we heard in court will be embedded in our minds forever. A deep scar that will never heal. George’s eldest sister is so traumatised by this she is unable to be here today.

“George was cheeky, funny and always smiling. Even as a young boy, If I told him off he would start grinning and we would always start laughing.”

Ms Underwood recalled how her son joked he was her “favourite.”

She wrote: “He was my favourite son. He was my only son.

“At school, George’s reports say he was one of the most intelligent in his year. He was particularly good at maths. If only he would stop acting as the class clown.”

Talking about Mr Barker’s daughter, Ms Underwood wrote: “She’s so lovely. She looks like him. She smiles like him.”

She described taking her granddaughter to the cemetery to visit her son’s grave and recalled how the youngster points at his gravestone and says: “My Daddy.”

“We smile back and agree, ‘yes, yes, Daddy’. Inside, we are crying.”

She also described how the memory of her son will never fade in the household.

“Every night we light a candle and say, ‘Goodnight, George’. In the morning we blow the candle out and say ‘Good morning’.

“We will always be together. We love you George and we miss you so much. You will always be with us.”

Mr Barker's dad Tony wrote a statement in which he said he was "somewhat disturbed" by the details of the trial.

He wrote that he will be haunted forever by "the way that he died and the pain of the last 30 minutes of his life."

Riddington has also been sentenced to three months for possession of a stun gun and three months for possession of CS gas found in his house during a police search to be served concurrently. He pleaded guilty to these offences at the start of the trial.

His sentence takes into account the 370 days the defendant has already spent in custody.