UK & World News
'Psychopath' Guilty Of Pensioner Murder
A self-confessed "psychopath" was today jailed for life with a minimum term of 35 years after he was found guilty of bludgeoning a pensioner to death with a hammer.
Graeme Jarman struck Judith Richardson, 77, at least 30 times after forcing his way into her flat in Hexham, Northumberland.
Jarman, who consistently denied murder during his trial at Newcastle Crown Court, fled the scene with Miss Richardson's handbag, sparking a major manhunt before he was arrested in Filey, North Yorkshire, a fortnight later.
He was convicted by a 11-1 majority by the jury, which began it deliberations on Tuesday.
Jarman showed no emotion as the jury foreman delivered the verdict, reached after seven hours of deliberation.
Judge Mr Justice Openshaw said the defendant clearly "presents an extreme danger to women" and may never be released from jail.
He added that Jarman "has shown not the slightest regret or remorse" after taking the life of "an entirely decent, respectful member of the community".
The judge said: "He must have struck the first blow with the hammer almost as soon as he entered the flat.
"She suffered truly appalling injuries with her skull fractured by the blows.
"The violence used was extreme."
He added: "That he will be detained until he is an old man is a price he must pay for committing such a terrible crime."
Jarman, 48, tricked the spinster into opening her front door by showing her Age UK charity leaflets and immediately began battering her.
Her ground floor flat was ransacked and her jewellery stolen as she lay dying in her hallway.
She was brutally beaten for a second time as the killer left.
During the trial, which lasted almost three weeks, Robert Smith QC, prosecuting, said the horrific attack was not random and that Jarman had been following potential victims the day before.
What the jury did not know is that Jarman had already been convicted of locking a teenage girl in his car boot and raping her at gunpoint.
During the seven-hour ordeal he told her: "I am your everyday psychopath."
A few years later, he barged into a 23-year-old woman's home, tied her up and sexually abused her.
He robbed that victim too, before going on the run, just as he did after murdering Miss Richardson, changing his appearance as he went.
The court was shown CCTV of Jarman in Hexham the day before the pensioner's death last August, which showed him talking to elderly residents.
Mr Smith said Jarman was "observing potential victims".
On the day of the murder, Jarman went to Miss Richardson's home with the charity leaflets and a hammer he had stolen from a shop in Hexham.
Miss Richardson, who lived with her terrier Hamish, was settling down to her lunch of buttered toast.
He struck her with the hammer straight after she answered the door and she fell against the wall of the lobby, bleeding from her initial head wound or wounds.
Jarman searched her bedroom for items to steal as she lay injured but still alive.
She managed to crawl a few metres along the hallway before Jarman struck again more than 30 times.
He fled, taking a number of buses to different towns where he bought clothes and shaved his head.
He arrived in Newcastle and threw her handbag in a bin before selling her jewellery for £300 at scrap value.
A member of the public found her bag, alerted police and officers responding to a simple lost property case were met by a bloody scene.
Northumbria Police said CCTV of Jarman in a jewellery shop near where the bag had been dumped was crucial to putting Jarman "in the frame" for the murder.
Jarman was finally arrested after the case received national publicity.
By then, his DNA had been found on tissues at Miss Richardson's home. The tissues also had traces of her blood. Jarman's fingerprints were also found on the charity leaflets.
Jarman denied the offence, claiming he took her handbag which had been left outside her home by the real killer.