Cleaner murdered widower for money
A cleaner who beat an 82-year-old widower to death with a rounders bat for his money before burying him in her garden has been jailed for life.
Ann Browning, 54, was ordered to serve a minimum of 25 years for the "wicked murder" of retired postman William Williamson after a judge at Guildford Crown Court ruled she planned the killing to get his money.
Browning, of Miltons Crescent, Ockford Ridge, Surrey, had pleaded guilty to murder but denied the crime was planned. She claimed she beat Mr Williamson with a plastic rounders bat in a temper then buried his body in a panic.
At a hearing to determine her motive for the murder, Guildford Crown Court last week heard Browning then stripped him naked, bound his legs with a belt, wrapped him in a shower curtain and put him head-first into a grave in her back garden.
Within days of his death in September 2010 she had transferred £140,000 of the proceeds of Mr Williamson's house sale into her own account and used his bank card to go on shopping trips to local supermarkets and other stores.
On Monday Judge Christopher Critchlow, Recorder of Guildford, ruled that Browning had planned the murder.
He said: "I am sure that she did not kill him in a burst of temper in a row. Taking all her lies and the cumulative effect of them makes me sure that she did plan his murder.
"The Crown has made me sure that she had planned to kill him, whether to benefit herself alone or to give financial support to others.
"He was a small man and at his age could not resist what she did to him. This was therefore a wicked murder of a vulnerable old man done for financial gain."
Browning was visibly distressed throughout the hearing, sobbing and often shouting from the dock, including saying "May God forgive your soul" to the judge as he sentenced her.