Man jailed for life for pensioner murder
A man was jailed for life today at Norwich Crown Court after he was found guilty of battering an elderly neighbour to death with a hammer.Colin Barker, 64, was told he would serve at least 15 years in jail for his attack on Heather Burton, 79, at a sheltered housing complex in Reepham last November.
A man was jailed for life today (Monday) at Norwich Crown Court after he was found guilty of battering an elderly neighbour to death with a hammer.
Colin Barker, 64, was told he would serve at least 15 years in jail for his attack on Heather Burton, 79, at a sheltered housing complex in Reepham last November.
Judge Peter Jacobs described Barker's attack on Mrs Burton as “frightening” and “brutal” but said the reasons behind it would never be known unless Barker chose to reveal them.
As the foreman of the jury of seven men and five women announced a unanimous verdict of murder, there were cries of “Yes!” from members of Mrs Burton's family sitting in the public gallery.
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The court then heard that Barker had a criminal record dating back to 1959, with offences including dishonesty, theft and fraud. He was jailed for a wounding offence in 1968, and has more recent convictions for deception and criminal damage. Two years ago he was cautioned for theft.
The court had earlier heard that Mrs Burton was very security conscious and trusted Barker, who visited her home in Sun Barn Walk daily.
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He attacked her with the hammer wrapped in a carrier bag, striking her around the head at least 14 times. The weapon was later discovered in Reepham Cemetery, where Barker had been seen on the day of the murder.
Sentencing Barker, Judge Jacobs said: “Something happened one day. You and she fell out. You argued and as a result of that argument you completely lost it. The clue to this seems to be in your own character and your own volatility.
“You took the hammer and the mechanism of how you took the hammer will probably not be known by us unless you choose to tell us at some time in the future.
“You became completely enraged and there is not a shadow of a doubt you struck this elderly lady once or twice at least while she was standing and then a large number of occasions after she had gone to the floor or had almost gone to the floor. Then you went out and hid the hammer.
“This was a frightening crime.”