Man to receive life sentence for murder of pensioner


A man who murdered a pensioner in "gruesome" circumstances in her home will be sentenced to life today.

Alexander Kerry, 23, of Kinghorn Road, Norwich, had been due to stand trial over the killing of 82-year-old Pauline King at Ipswich Crown Court on Monday but changed his plea at the last minute.

He had also been charged with sexual assault but denied this charge and the prosecution chose not to proceed on that count.

The body of Miss King was found at her home in The Avenues in Norwich on February 22. A Home Office post mortem showed she died as a result of a sustained assault and had suffered a sex attack.

She had lived alone in what police described as a "dilapidated" detached house and neighbours said she was a pleasant but reclusive woman.

It is believed she was the victim of a burglary in which low value nick-nacks were stolen.

Judge Mr Justice Stuart-Smith adjourned sentencing until Tuesday morning.

He told potential jurors they had been spared hearing some "gruesome" details about the killing and alleged sexual assault.

He added: "If this trial had gone ahead the issue would have been whether the defendant knew what he was doing or was not guilty on the grounds of diminished responsibility."

The judge told Kerry: "It is inevitable that you will receive a life sentence but I have to decide how long the minimum term will be."

Prosecutor Andrew Jackson said it was not in the public interest to proceed with a trial on the sexual assault allegation given the plea to murder.

Kerry, who wore a white suit and striped tie, spoke only to confirm his name, enter his plea and acknowledge that he understood proceedings

Speaking shortly after Miss King's body was found, chief inspector Paul Durham said it was possible she had been murdered in a burglary gone wrong.

He added: ''We have sufficient evidence to suggest that this was a burglary.

''We have recovered some property from another address which seems to have been stolen from her home.

''The house itself was dilapidated and there was little of any value - just nick-nacks like kitchen utensils which were next to worthless to anybody else.''