Llywelyn Thomas murder case: Two accused found guilty

Parker and Smith
Image caption Frankie Parker and Gary Smith were described as career criminals

Two men who denied beating to death a pensioner during a burglary in his Cambridgeshire home have been convicted of murder and robbery.

Gary Smith, 21, and his nephew Frankie Parker, 26, were found guilty of killing Llywelyn Thomas, 76, on 17 December 2011 in Chittering.

Each defendant blamed the other at the Cambridge Crown Court trial.

Smith, of the Fen Road travellers' site, Chesterton, and Parker, of Nene Road, Ely, will be sentenced on Friday.

Parker had admitted a charge of robbery, which Smith had denied.

Smith told the court he had tried to stop Parker killing Mr Thomas.

Parker said he was searching another room for valuables when Smith started attacking the retired farmer, who was originally from Cefn Cribwr, near Bridgend, south Wales.

A Rover car, which could not go above 20mph, was stolen along with three watches, cash and ornamental eggs during the raid.

Neighbours in Ely Road, where Mr Thomas lived, raised the alert the next day when they became concerned his house lights had been left on all night.

The jury heard nearly four weeks of evidence.

Image caption Llywelyn Thomas had retired to Cambridgeshire to be near his family

Left for dead

Prosecutor Karim Khalil told the court the pair had raided Mr Thomas's home carrying a crowbar.

"They knocked on the front door, forced their way in and restrained Mr Thomas," he said.

"Afterwards, instead of leaving Mr Thomas unhurt, perhaps even bound upstairs, they set about a savage beating - he did not stand a chance.

"The assault was mainly to his head, face and upper back.

"There were signs of stamping, blood on the floor and doorways and no defence injuries. So it seems that Mr Thomas was unable even to try to defend himself.

"He was left for dead on the upstairs landing."

Father-of-one Mr Thomas had lived alone since the death of his wife about 10 years earlier.

Previous conviction

Det Chief Insp George Barr said after the trial: "Smith and Parker are both career criminals who had committed countless burglaries.

"They must have seen Llywelyn Thomas as an easy target but the level of violence used against him was completely unjustified.

"He would have posed little threat to them, but they subjected him to a brutal and sustained beating."

It emerged during the trial Smith carried out a similar attack on a pensioner in her home in Kilham, East Yorkshire, on 9 February last year, just two months after the Chittering murder.

He battered a 73-year-old woman with her own walking stick before stealing her car.

He was jailed for five years for burglary and aggravated vehicle-taking at Hull Crown Court in June.

Smith's father, John Smith, 67, of Wold Gate, Bridlington, East Yorkshire, previously admitted assisting an offender by providing a false alibi.

He will also be sentenced on Friday.

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