Cheltenham cannabis thief guilty of murdering pensioner

Image source, Gloucestershire Police
Image caption,
Tony Swift was "battered to death" in his flat, police said

A man who battered a pensioner to death before stealing his cannabis stash has been found guilty of murder.

Tony Swift, 68, was found with head injuries at his flat in Mendip Road in Whaddon, Cheltenham, in October 2015.

His killer, Lee McClatchley, 31, was convicted by a jury at Bristol Crown Court following a three-week trial.

Police said McClatchley "lived each day ducking and diving as a cannabis dealer". The "blunt weapon" used in the attack has never been recovered.

'Soft target'

Richard Pegler, senior investigating officer detective inspector, said: "That day he was a desperate man seeking to put right a number of dodgy deals.

"I believe he saw Tony as a soft target and tried to rob him of his stash but it all went wrong in the flat and he battered Tony to death."

Image source, Gloucestershire Police
Image caption,
Lee McClatchley stole the 68-year-old's stash of cannabis after killing him, police said

Following the verdict, the Swift family thanked the police and prosecution team for their work.

"We would also like to thank Dad's neighbour who did all she could for Dad on the day he died," they said in a statement.

"We hope that rather than focus on how Dad died and all that has entailed, everyone who knew and loved Tony will take a moment or two, every now and again, to remember him and to be thankful for him and the time we had with him."

McClatchley, of Cromwell Road in Cheltenham, who is said to have sold on the stolen cannabis, is due to be sentenced on 22 March.

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