Alex Murdaugh, 54, shot dead his wife Maggie, 52, and son Paul, 22, who he called “Paw Paw” at their family estate in South Carolina on June 7 2021.

The six-week trial captivated America and Murdaugh, a disbarred lawyer and opioid addict, was convicted by a jury of two charges of murder.

Lawyers for Murdaugh said they would appeal his convictions, arguing that evidence of separate financial crimes should not have been allowed in the trial.

They said the inclusion had caused jurors to believe Murdaugh was a “despicable human being”.

Judge Clifton Newman handed down two consecutive life sentences and said Murdaugh would serve the “rest of your natural life” behind bars.

The judge gave a deeply personal address, saying he had known the defendant for years, had presided over cases argued by Murdaugh, and seen him at “various occasions”.

Speaking directly to Murdaugh, Judge Newman said: “You had such a lovely family, such friendly people, including you. To go from that to this…”

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