The killer of Ugandan rights campaigner David Kato, who was murdered earlier this year, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

The sentence was handed down to Sydney Nsubuga, also known by the name Enock, last night.

Nsubuga, 22, pleaded guilty to the murder of the gay rights activist on January 26, 2011 at his home in the Mukono district of Uganda.

Earlier this year, Nsubuga claimed Mr Kato agreed to pay him for sex, but refused to hand over any money after the act. He says he did not intend to kill Mr Kato, he was trying to defend himself.

Police arrested Nsubuga on 2 February, and said he had been staying at Mr Kato’s house after he had bailed Nsubuga out of prison.

A police spokesman had told Reuters: “He has confessed to the murder. It wasn’t a robbery and it wasn’t because Kato was an activist. It was a personal disagreement but I can’t say more than that.”

Speaking today about the sentence, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: “It is good that justice has been done. The man jailed pleaded guilty, so we can assume that the police got the right person. It sends a signal that sometimes in Uganda, LGBT people get justice. Of course, many times they don’t. Homophobes often get away with violence. Not in this case.

“I hope it will encourage more LGBT Ugandans to report homophobic attacks and pursue the police until they, too, get justice.”

The announcement comes on the day Ugandan rights activist Frank Mugisha receives the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award for his work in the African country where he and David Kato worked.