Killer of Teesside grandmother loses appeal bid

Patricia Thompson
Image caption Patricia Thompson was a "loving, joyful and gentle lady"

A burglar who strangled a grandmother in her Teesside home then set fire to it to destroy the evidence has failed in a bid to challenge his conviction.

The body of Patricia Thompson, 85, was found in her burnt-out bungalow in Hartburn, Stockton, in September 2009.

Steven Hodgson, now 34, denied murder but was found guilty and was jailed for life with a minimum term of 34 years.

The Court of Appeal has now upheld the safety of the verdict and rejected his application for leave to appeal.

The judges were told that during the trial at Teesside Crown Court a juror said that he knew one of the people in a photograph with Mrs Thompson, which had been found in her handbag.

Hodgson claimed this undermined the guilty verdicts, as there was a risk this juror might have been prejudiced against him.

However, Lord Justice Leveson, sitting with Mrs Justice Cox and Mr Justice Supperstone, upheld the safety of the guilty verdict.

Hodgson, a prolific burglar, had broken into Mrs Thompson's home after researching the area on Google Maps, two days before her murder.

He confronted his victim and killed her before setting fires in the property then fleeing in a taxi with a number of her possessions.

After the trial and sentencing, Mrs Thompson's two daughters released a statement describing their mother as a "loving, joyful and gentle lady."

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