Man facing life in jail for murder of disabled pensioner with hammer for bank card

Man facing life in jail for murder of disabled pensioner with hammer for bank card

A jobless man in England is facing life behind bars for bludgeoning to death a disabled pensioner with a claw hammer for the sake of his bank card.

Cash-strapped Raymond Sykes attacked his former neighbour Arthur Walters-Girout, 82, in his own home on Monday June 15 last year, leaving him with a fractured skull and cheekbone.

As the married father-of-two's body lay undiscovered, Sykes, 35, made off in the victim's car with his HSBC card.

Having extracted the PIN, Sykes joined Jason and Ashley Hill for a spending spree in JD Sports and GS Superfoods in Woolwich.

The jury deliberated for two days to find Sykes, of Engineer Close, Woolwich, south London, guilty of murder.

A charge of conspiracy to defraud was ordered to lie on court file.

While the jury were in retirement it emerged that Sykes had lied to psychiatrists when he said his father was dead - when in fact he was alive and well.

In the absence of jurors, prosecutor Brian O'Neill QC told the court that further inquiries had revealed that Sykes's father had not spoken to his son since 2013 when he had burgled his house and stolen his car.

Mr O'Neill told jurors at the Old Bailey that in all, 84 transactions were made to steal more than £2,412 from the account.

But diabetic Sykes was only involved with three of the purchases having admitted himself to hospital on the evening of June 15 claiming he had been without his medication after losing the keys to his flat.

Mr Walters-Girout was found dead on Friday June 19 - five days after he was attacked in his home in Pembury Crescent, Sidcup, where he lived alone.

His son Rowland had become so concerned he had been unable to contact him that he climbed through a window and discovered the heavily bloodstained body of his father slumped in a chair in the living room.

A phone had been thrown across the room to prevent Mr Walters-Girout from calling for help as Sykes carried out the hammer attack, jurors were told.

The victim's Toyota car was eventually found damaged near the home of the Hill family, the court heard.

Following his arrest, Sykes claimed he had carried out a "mercy killing" after Mr Walters-Girout picked up a hammer and began hitting himself over the head.

But Mr O'Neill said: "We submit that far from this being some sort of misconceived mercy killing, this was a murder committed for gain in which this defendant brutally assaulted Mr Walters-Girout with a lethal weapon in the sanctity of his own home in order to steal from him."

Mr Walters-Girout was described in court as a "resilient and independent" man who still drove despite walking with crutches.

When asked if he had ever spoken of harming himself, his son had said: "Absolutely not. He has never talked of anything like that or indicated he had such thoughts. That just wasn't him."

The jury was told how Sykes, who has four children by former partners, had financial worries and a long history of depression including a spell in a psychiatric hospital.

And as he awaited trial, had tried to hang himself twice while in prison, the court heard.

Sykes will be sentenced on Wednesday morning by Judge Peter Rook QC.

Jason Hill, 23, and Ashley Hill, 22, from Woolwich, have previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and will be sentenced at a later date.

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