A man found guilty of a homophobic murder has been failed in his bid to the sentence overturned.

Mark Malone, 33, from Walton-on-Thames, was sentenced to a minimum of 30 years behind bars in 2008 when he was found guilty of the murder of Jeffrey Akers, 50.

During the trial, Malone was described as a man with an “unhealthy interest in knives and a hatred of homosexuals”.

He stabbed HIV worker Mr Akers to death with a carving knife in February 2008 in a public toilet near Walton Bridge.

His lawyers argued there was no evidence of homophobia but the court heard that Malone had attacked another gay man in the same toilets a year earlier, and had been arrested for attacking an autistic man he believed was gay in Cornwall in 2003.

Malone attempted to challenge his sentence on the grounds that the conviction was unsafe.

However, Mr Justice Maddison at the Court of Appeal concluded that there was no reason for this to be the case.

The victim’s father Peter Akers told the Barry and District News: “No sentence would bring Jeffrey back, but I am very pleased the appeal judges have not overturned the conviction.

“The judge at the time warned us he would appeal because he has nothing to lose, but he also said it was unlikely he would win.”