Essex

Albert Williams death: Two men jailed for burglary

Anthony Smith and Simon Smith Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Anthony Smith (left) and Simon Smith - who were not related - have each been jailed for eight-and-a-half years

Two men have been jailed for burgling a flat where the "vulnerable" 67-year-old occupant was found dead a week later.

Albert Williams, of Cedar Close, Southend, is believed to have been killed before his home was set on fire on 8 August last year.

Simon Smith, 40, and Anthony Smith, 44, were convicted of burglary after a trial at Inner London Crown Court.

They were found not guilty of murder and a second count of burglary. Both were jailed for eight-and-a-half years.

The case against Ismail Celik, 34, of Grays, who was charged with two counts of aiding and abetting burglary, was dropped, police said.

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The court heard the Smiths, who are not related, had forced their way into Mr Williams' flat on 1 August last year.

They kicked and punched the victim, detectives said, and had stolen a box which was thought to contain about £2,000.

'Callous nature'

A post-mortem examination found Mr Williams died from compression of the neck and "multiple blunt force chest injuries".

Police said Simon Smith, of no fixed address; and Anthony Smith, of Ceylon Road, Westcliff; had "exploited [the victim's] vulnerability and ruthlessly targeted him because of it".

"They invaded his home, and the severity of their sentence bares testimony to the callous nature of the crime," Det Insp Danny Stoten said.

Police said the murder investigation remained open.

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