Lodger killed woman then lived with her body at Battersea flat

Antoinette Donnegan Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Antoinette Donegan's body was found at a flat in Battersea on 7 March

A lodger has been convicted of killing a woman and continuing to live in the flat with her decomposing body.

Antoinette Donegan, 52, was killed in her Battersea council flat by Kristian Smith, 42, in February 2019.

Smith continued to live in the one-bedroom flat for a month and used Ms Donegan's bank card and mobile phone as she lay dead in her bedroom.

At the Old Bailey, Smith, of no fixed abode, was convicted of manslaughter but cleared of Ms Donegan's murder.

Police eventually found her body at the flat in Este Road in March after concerns were raised for her welfare.

Prosecutor Louis Mably QC told jurors blood was found on the floor by Ms Donegan's head and there was blood on her bedroom furniture.

Ms Donegan also had cuts to her head.

'Concealed smell'

Officers noticed clothes had been pushed against the door as a makeshift "draught excluder", he added.

"Someone had done this in order to conceal the smell coming from the bedroom - the smell of her decomposing corpse.

"So, there was someone who knew she had died, but rather than calling the police, had tried to prevent the body from being discovered."

The court heard Ms Donegan, who relied on benefits for her income, and Smith shared a drug addiction and went to the same drug recovery centre.

She was last seen on 1 February 2019, but her bank card continued to be used and her benefits withdrawn, jurors heard.

CCTV was shown of Smith using the victim's bank card following her death.

He will be sentenced next week.

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