Cambridgeshire murder pair to be sentenced today


FRANKIE PARKER - Credit: Archant

TWO burglars who bludgeoned a pensioner to death in his own home have been convicted of his murder.


GARY SMITH - Credit: Archant

Travellers Gary Smith, 21, and Frankie Parker, 26, attacked retired farmer Llywelyn Thomas, 76, while they were raiding his home in Ely Road, Chittering, on December 17, 2011.

After killing him, the pair left with a number of items including a selection of watches and ornamental eggs. They also stole Mr Thomas’ Rover 75, but it was broken and could not be driven more than 20mph. They dumped the vehicle in Church Lane, Milton, before going to Parker’s brother’s home in nearby Coles Road where they stripped off and disposed of their clothes before calling Smith’s father, John, to pick them up.

Mr Thomas’ body was discovered the following morning after neighbours spotted his lights were left on overnight and front door was open.

Detectives made an appeal for information on BBC1’s Crimewatch programme and a £50,000 reward was put up by the force, Mr Thomas’ son Richard and Crimestoppers.

Meanwhile Smith was jailed for a similar attack on a pensioner in her home in Kilham, East Yorkshire, on February 9, last year just two months after the murder. He battered the 73-year-old woman with her own walking stick before stealing her car. He was jailed for five years for burglary and aggravated vehicle taking at Hull Crown Court, last June.

Parker and Smith were arrested for the murder of Llywelyn Thomas in May, last year.

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Parker, of Nene Road, Ely, and Smith, of no fixed address, both admitted being at the scene but blamed each other for the killing. Parker admitted robbery but they both denied murder, however they were convicted on Thursday following a four-week trial at Cambridge Crown Court. Smith was also convicted of robbery.

Smith’s father, John, 67, of Wold Gate, Bridlington, North Humberside, was convicted of assisting an offender by providing a false alibi. A further count of assisting by driving the pair away from the scene was dropped at court.

All three will be sentenced today Friday.

Detective Chief Inspector George Barr, who led the investigation, said: “This was a savage murder of an elderly man in his own home.

“Smith and Parker are both career criminals who had committed countless burglaries. They must have seen Llywelyn Thomas as an easy target for a burglary but the level of violence used against him was completely unjustified.

“He would have posed little threat to them, but they subjected him to a brutal and sustained beating.

“This was a challenging and complex investigation which was solved through painstaking detective work.

“Such a brutal crime understandably caused a lot of anxiety within the community of Chittering and Cambridgeshire. Thankfully, such incidents are extremely rare and when people commit offences of this nature we will do everything in our power to bring them to justice.

“Our thoughts are with Mr Thomas’ son, Richard, and his family at this difficult time and hope today’s convictions will provide them with some closure to this tragic event.”