Irene Lawless Llanllwni murder: Darren Jackson gets life
- 17 September 2012
- From the section South West Wales
A man described as having a "warped and perverted mind" has been jailed for life after admitting raping and murdering a grandmother at her home.
Irene Lawless, 67, was found dead on the Bryndulais estate in Llanllwni village in Carmarthenshire in January.
Darren Martin Jackson, 26, was ordered to serve a minimum of 28 years when he was sentenced at Swansea Crown Court.
He was living next door and had looked at pornographic websites involving rape and older women before the murder.
The court heard that Jackson, originally from Kent, broke into Mrs Lawless's house and subjected her to a sustained sexual assault before strangling her.
He then stole her handbag and car before driving to Deal in Kent, where he was later arrested.
Jackson pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.
The judge, Mr Justice Royce said Jackson had a warped and perverted mind and that the murder had left Mrs Lawless's family traumatised and shocked and a close-knit community appalled.
Mr Justice Royce recommended that he serve at least 28 years but warned he may never be released.
The court heard that Jackson broke into Mrs Lawless's bungalow in the early hours and attacked her while she slept.
Elwen Evans, prosecuting, said Jackson had spent the previous night in a nearby town in local pubs.
He was picked up by his stepfather at 04:30 GMT and taken to the house where he was living next door to Mrs Lawless, a retired shorthand typist.
Then some time after 05:00 GMT he broke into her home by climbing through an open window, said Miss Evans.
The court heard that she suffered 20 fractures to her ribs during the attack.
Police searched the bungalow where Jackson had been living for three weeks before the murder with his mother and stepfather.
The court was shown CCTV of him "calmly" buying petrol 20 minutes away from the attack.
He was arrested five hours and 50 minutes after neighbours discovered the body.
The court heard that Jackson had a scratch below his right eye from where Mrs Lawless put up a "significant struggle".
She lived alone, and painted local scenes and made soaps and candles which she sold at galleries and craft markets, the court heard.
"She was a highly regarded, mother, sister, grandmother and friend to many people in the local community," said Miss Evans.
"Painting and gardening and a wide variety of craft hobbies were Irene's favourite pastimes.
"She was a healthy living, peaceful, calm and thoughtful woman and was always hard-working and industrious. She was a real home body."
After her death, her son, Jason said that his mother was a "a loving mother and grandmother, a really peaceful person who loved the garden, animals and her paintings".
After the hearing, Iwan Jenkins, district crown prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in Wales, said: "This was a senseless and brutal attack on a vulnerable and defenceless victim."
'Shocked and repulsed'
He paid tribute to a "swift and thorough investigation" by Dyfed-Powys Police.
"We can only hope that Irene's family and friends may be able to take some small comfort from the fact that we were able to spare them the stresses and strains of a murder trial," he said.
"However, we are acutely aware that today's sentencing does nothing to bring back Irene or ease the sense of loss felt by those close to her. Our thoughts are with them."
Outside court, Det Supt Pam Kelly from Dyfed-Powys Police welcomed the length of the sentence.
"It is fair to say that these offences have shocked and repulsed Irene's family, the community of Llanwuni and the investigation teams," she said.
"Of course tinged with an awful lot of sadness, the sentence today has been welcomed for we believe the public is now much safer as a result of Darren Jackson being put firmly behind bars."