Albertina Choules death: Man admits manslaughter

Image caption,
Albertina Choules, known as Tina, had lived alone since the death of her husband in 2004

An intruder who attacked and killed an 81-year-old woman before setting her body on fire has admitted manslaughter.

Tautrydas Narbutas, 24, was caught by police officers at the home of Albertina Choules near Marlow Bottom, Buckinghamshire, on 6 July 2016.

Detectives said they could not "begin to imagine" how terrifying the attack would have been for Mrs Choules.

Narbutas appeared at Reading Crown Court via videolink where he admitted the killing but denied murder.

His plea to the charge of manslaughter by virtue of diminished responsibility was accepted by the prosecution.

"This was a horrific incident in which a woman was attacked and killed at random by Narbutas," said Mike Lynch from Thames Valley Police.

"Mrs Choules was retired, and lived a peaceful life at her home in Marlow. That came to an end on the day Narbutas entered her property."

A medical expert appointed by the Crown Prosecution Service agreed with the defence that Narbutas's "responsibility for the crime was substantially diminished".

Lithuanian Narbutas, of Chiltern Avenue, High Wycombe, also admitted one count of affray. He will be sentenced on 3 October.

Image caption,
The victim was not afraid of living in an isolated spot, her family said

Mrs Choules was attacked at her home in Ragmans Lane, where she had lived alone since her husband died in 2004.

She died of a head injury before her body was set alight.

Mrs Choules, known as Tina, was of Italian descent and had no children.

She was "completely unafraid of being in such an isolated spot", her niece said shortly after her death.

In a statement released at the time, her family said she was "incredibly special, as was her simple, self-sufficient way of life with no electricity, television or washing machine".

She was "completely selfless" and would be missed "very dearly", they added.

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