Cambridgeshire

Llywelyn Thomas murder: Two jailed for 'brutal' killing

Two men who battered a retired farmer to death in Cambridgeshire have been jailed for life.

Llywelyn Thomas, 76, was found dead in his home in the village of Chittering just before Christmas 2011.

Gary Smith, 21, of Fen Road in Chesterton, and his nephew, Frankie Parker, 26, of Nene Road, Ely, had both denied murder.

Parker was told at Cambridge Crown Court he would serve 24 years and Smith 22 years before parole is considered.

Mr Justice Rabinder Singh said: "Frankie Parker and Gary Smith were professional burglars who had prepared carefully.

"Perhaps because Mr Thomas would not or could give them access to a safe or because they feared he could identify them, they attacked him.

"They both shared an intention to kill.

"One can only imagine the desperation and fear Mr Thomas must have felt in what turned out to be the last moments of his life."

The killing took place on 17 December 2011 and neighbours alerted by lights in his home being left on all night found his body the next morning.

Retired farmer Mr Thomas, 76, originally from Cefn Cribwr, near Bridgend, south Wales, had suffered horrific injuries, the court heard.

List of convictions

The father-of-one, who had lived alone in a converted chapel in Ely Road, Chittering, since the death of his wife 10 years earlier, had answered the door to his killers.

Prosecutor Karim Khalil said: "They forced their way in, knowing the property was occupied by an elderly gentleman.

"They ransacked his property, attacking him with a crowbar and then stamped and kicked on him, causing severe brain injuries."

The pair stole his Rover car, which could not go above 20mph, watches, cash and ornamental eggs.

Mr Khalil said the pair had sought to hide behind the "culture of silence" which existed within their traveller community.

Outside court Mr Thomas's son, Richard, said his father's injuries were so severe it had been difficult to identify him.

"My father presented no threat to these robbers - they decided to beat him with a crowbar, stamping on his face and they beat him and they beat him and they beat him until he died."

Smith was jailed for five years at Hull Crown Court in June for attacking a pensioner in her home in Kilham, East Yorkshire, on 9 February two months after the attack on Mr Thomas.

He had a criminal record, including theft and violence, dating back to the age of 15.

Father jailed

Parker also had a long list of criminal convictions for robbery, assault and theft dating back to the age of 17 but during the trial it was said he had been burgling homes since the age of 14.

Each claimed the other was responsible for the killing.

Smith was also found guilty of robbery while Parker had admitted this charge.

Smith was jailed for 12 years concurrently for this offence while Parker will serve 10 years and six months.

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

He was jailed for two years and six months.

Det Ch Insp George Barr said: "Smith and Parker are dangerous individuals and we are pleased they are now starting life sentences for this brutal murder."

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