Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Pensioner hammer attack 'planned'

Judith Richardson, 77, was found battered to death in her own home in Northumberland

A killer tricked a pensioner into opening her front door by showing her Age UK charity leaflets - then launched a hammer attack on her, a court has heard.

Judith Richardson, 77, was found battered to death at her home in Hexham, Northumberland, in August last year after her handbag was discovered dumped in a bin in Newcastle.

Graeme Jarman, 48, from the Delves Lane area of Consett, County Durham, denies her murder.

The prosecution said this was not a random attack, and that there was evidence that Jarman selected his victim, whom he also robbed, the day before.

Robert Smith QC, prosecuting, said: "The murder was done for no other reason than personal gain."

He added: "This was not a chance encounter with Miss Richardson. The prosecution's case is that the defendant planned her killing and went to her home well-prepared for what he intended to do.

"In order to kill Miss Richardson, the defendant needed to gain access to her home and to have available some means of explaining his presence in the road where she lived, should he be challenged.

"His method was simple. He took with him two leaflets issued by the charity Age UK. These are likely to have been obtained from the Age UK shop shortly before the murder."

The leaflets were found in the hall of her home after her death and Jarman's fingerprint was found on one of them, Mr Smith said.

CCTV images of Jarman in Hexham, Newcastle and other locations were later detected, the court heard. He was arrested two weeks later in Filey, North Yorkshire, after police circulated his description and he was spotted by a member of the public.

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