Rapist jailed for life for brutal murder of frail pensioner

A VICIOUS sex attacker who raped and battered a frail pensioner to death after she bravely fought him off in a previous assault was jailed for life today.

Jason Ward, 23, left Gladys Godfrey with a broken neck, fractured skull and completely blackened face after the horrific attack at her home in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.

The machine operator was said to have targeted the tiny widow, who lived alone, for his own “sexual gratification” after indecently assaulting her more than a year before.

Ward, of Bentinck Street, Mansfield, was ordered to serve a minimum of 22 years behind bars after pleading guilty at Nottingham Crown Court yesterday to murder, rape, indecent assault and burglary.

The court heard the elderly widow, who was only 4ft 11in and weighed just six stone, was virtually housebound when Ward first tricked his way into her home in April 2001.

She was sleeping in an armchair when she heard a knock at the door in the early hours of April 28.

Steven Coupland, prosecuting, said Ward attempted to sexually assault her but she fought back, scratching his face and tearing an earring out of his ear before striking him with a lemonade bottle.

He fled, taking her handbag, but was to return more than a year later to callously end the pensioner’s life.

On September 8 2002, Mrs Godfrey was again alone when Ward made his way into her home and attacked her.

He dragged her from the living room to the bedroom and raped her, then he battered and strangled her until she was dead.

A post-mortem examination revealed 23 injuries, mainly to her head and face, with bruising so extensive that she was almost black.

Her ear was partly split and her scalp had been moved away from her skull where her hair had been pulled out. She also had fractures to her skull and jaw, a broken neck and six fractured ribs.

Forensic tests were carried out and a DNA profile was identified but police found no match. It was not until the end of 2003 as a result of large-scale fingerprinting that Ward was identified.

Ward remained expressionless as he was sentenced to life for the murder, nine years for rape and five years each for the indecent assault and burglary, which will all run concurrently.

Maureen Baker, defending, said Ward, who had no previous convictions except a fine for being drunk and disorderly, was suffering from a psychopathic disorder and hallucinations.

More in this section


Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox