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- Mark Czapla found guilty of murdering Kirsty Humphrey.
- Kirsty's body was found in the lounge of her Queen Elizabeth Way flat on September 4 last year.
Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: "The murder of Kirsty Humphrey was a shocking and horrific crime.
"My heart goes out to Kirsty’s family as they seek to rebuild their lives without their loved one.
"Mark Czapla has been found guilty of murder and the court will deliver its sentence shortly.
"I offer my thanks and gratitude to the Senior Investigating Officer, DCI Simon Werrett, to his team of police officers and staff, and to everyone who worked tirelessly to ensure that justice has been served in this case.”
Friends of murdered Kirsty say her killer Mark Czapla should never get out of prison.
Friend Amy Holmewood said: “I hope he gets sent down for the rest of his life.
“He does not deserve to see the light of day ever again.
“He took away someone who was so special to us.
“With Kirsty, you just wanted to be around her every day and we still miss her every day.”
She added: “The fact he’s going to prison means nothing to me, it doesn’t give me comfort and it doesn’t give me closure.
“He took our Kirsty away and no amount of punishment will be good enough.”
Stacey Sadler added: “It is comforting to know justice has been done and he is going to get what he deserves.
“He should never see daylight again, that would be too good for him.
“We still miss her every day.
“She was such a big personality and there will never be someone like her. You can’t replace her.”
The family have also released a new photograph of Kirsty.
Kirsty's father John Edmondson added: "I would like to thank our barristers Christopher Paxton and Jamie Sawyer, not just for the great job they did in getting the correct conviction but for the way they helped us all get through the ordeal.
"Kirsty will never be forgotten."
Speaking after the verdict, Kirsty’s mother Nicky Humphrey said: "Last September our family was ripped apart by the death of our beautiful loving daughter Kirsty.
"The past six months have been especially dreadful as we struggle to come to terms with how Kirsty was taken from us and how our granddaughter was deprived of her mother.
"Despite the conviction of her killer Mark Czapla, his term of imprisonment will never be sufficient punishment for taking my daughter from me, my granddaughter and my family.
"I would like to thank Essex Police, and the legal teams especially our barrister Christopher Paxton who have all helped bring him to justice on behalf of Kirsty but particularly the Police Family Liaison Officers Jeanine Atkins - Calver and Steve Hunt plus the Homicide Victim Support Team and of course all of our family and friends for their continual support.
"We would now like to be left alone with our memories of my daughter Kirsty and the wonderful times that we shared.”
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Werrett, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, 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.
"He is a coward; he would not even come into the court to hear the evidence against him.
"The jury has found him guilty, based on the evidence they have heard.
"This is good news for the family and they can start to try and re-build their lives.
"It is good for the community as Czapla will be sentenced to life imprisonment and they will be protected from a violent, self-seeking man.
"I wish to thank the family for their support in this investigation and for my team in bring this dangerous individual to justice."
Mark Czapla has been found guilty.
He is due to be sentenced tomorrow.
At the time of her death, Kirsty's family described here as a "beautiful person who was happy and always smiling".
The jury has been sent out to consider the case.
The verdict is expected later this afternoon.