Travellers found guilty of murdering retired Cambs pensioner in his own home


GARY SMITH - Credit: Archant

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


FRANKIE PARKER - 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.

Llwelyn Thomas

Llwelyn Thomas - Credit: Archant

After killing him, the pair left with a number of items including a selection of watches and ornamental eggs.

Llywelyn Thomas

Llywelyn Thomas - Credit: Archant

They stole Mr Thomas’ Rover 75, but it was broken and could not be driven more than 20mph.

BBC Crimewatch reconstructed the murder of Llywelyn Thomas at his home in Chittering.

BBC Crimewatch reconstructed the murder of Llywelyn Thomas at his home in Chittering. - Credit: Archant

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.

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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 independent charity Crimestoppers.

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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.

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 today 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 tomorrow (Friday).

Det Chief Insp 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.”

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