Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Raymond Sykes murdered the retired security guard in his own home before stealing his bank card and going shopping.
15:25, UK,Wednesday 06 April 2016
Raymond Sykes murdered Arthur Walter-Girout
A man who bludgeoned a pensioner to death in what he described as an act of "mercy" has been jailed for 25 years.
Jobless Raymond Sykes, 36, attacked his former neighbour Arthur Walters-Girout, 82, with a claw hammer on 15 June last year.
Mr Walters-Girout, a divorced father-of-two, was left with a fractured skull and cheekbone.
He was found dead on a chair by his son Rowland five days later.
Sykes claimed he had hit Mr Walters-Girout after the pensioner had picked up a hammer and started to hit himself over the head.
But Judge Peter Rook QC rejected that as "wholly inconceivable", saying that his real motivation for the "savage attack" on such a vulnerable man was for gain.
Sykes, who has spent time in a psychiatric hospital and has four children by former partners, was found guilty of murder and jailed for life with a minimum term of 25 years before he can be considered for release.
The court heard Sykes had also stolen Mr Walter-Girout's car and his HSBC bank card, extracting the PIN and going shopping in GS Superfoods and JD Sports in Woolwich, southeast London.
There were 84 transactions made on the account, amounting to more than £2,412. But the court was told that Sykes, a diabetic, was only involved in three of these purchases, having admitted himself to hospital on the evening of 15 June.
Jason Hill, 23, and Ashley Hill, 22, from Woolwich, have previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and will be sentenced at a later date.
Mr Walters-Girout, a retired security guard who had come to the UK from South Africa in the 1970s, was still close to his ex-wife Ann.
She gave a victim impact statement during Sykes' sentencing, saying the family had yet to come to terms with the brutal death.
"Arthur's tragic and untimely death has created an enormous void in all our lives."
She described her ex-husband as an "outgoing" man who would talk to anyone, who loved following the news, caravanning, DIY and gardening. He still drove himself, despite needing crutches to walk.