London

Man guilty of murdering grandmother in her east London home

Rosemary Shearman Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption Rosemary Shearman was due to go on a cruise on the day she was murdered

A gambling addict has been found guilty of murdering a 77-year-old grandmother in east London.

Thomas Blazquez, 51, from South Woodford, killed Rosemary Shearman in her Hornchurch home on 3 September.

Blazquez was sentenced to life in prison at Southwark Crown Court and told he must serve a minimum of 18 years.

Det Ch Insp Noel McHugh, from the Met Police, said Mrs Shearman's murder had been a "huge loss" to her family.

'Loving grandmother'

"Her family described her as a typical loving grandmother," he said.

"Blazquez is a highly manipulative and evil man who robbed them of Rosemary who he subjected to an unthinkable death."

On the morning of her murder last year, Mrs Shearman was due to go on a 10-day cruise to the Norwegian Fjords.

She had returned from the hairdressers and was waiting for a taxi to take her to Dover, officers said.

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Blazquez had met Rosemary Sherman at a local bridge club

Blazquez went to the pensioner's house for unknown reasons and it believed that although Mrs Shearman did not open her door to strangers, she would have let him in as she recognised him as a member of her bridge club.

The two had been paired together on a handful of occasions at the club, but there was no other connection between the two, police said.

When a taxi driver arrived to collect Mrs Shearman he did not receive an answer and contacted neighbours who discovered her body.

'Gambling debts'

Mrs Shearman's was found bound and gagged and she had been beaten.

When police officers arrived they discovered Blazquez in the bathroom covered in blood and suffering from self-inflicted wounds to his wrists and neck. He was taken to hospital.

Officers said that Blazquez had significant gambling debts and was suffering from depression.

In a statement after the sentencing, Mrs Shearman's family said: "We feel the sentence is some small justice following the tragic murder of our mother.

"We are relieved that the jury reached a guilty verdict and that a very dangerous man has been removed from the community."

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