Burglars who beat retired farmer to death jailed for life

TWO burglars who beat a vulnerable widower to death after forcing their way into his home have been jailed for life.

Retired farmer Llywelyn Thomas, 76, originally from south Wales, was found dead in his Cambridgeshire home on December 18, 2011, after suffering horrific injuries during a raid the previous night.

Just two months after the murder one of the killers, Gary Smith, battered an elderly woman with her own walking stick after breaking into her home in East Yorkshire.

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Smith, 21, who laughed and smirked throughout yesterday’s proceedings at Cambridge Crown Court, was ordered to serve a minimum of 22 years of a life sentence after being found guilty of murder yesterday.

His nephew Frankie Parker, 26, was also found guilty and will serve at least 24 years.

Smith was jailed for five years at Hull Crown Court in June for attacking a pensioner in her home in Kilham, East Yorkshire, on February 9 last year.

In that incident he attacked a 73-year-old woman before stealing her car.

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Yesterday the court heard he had a criminal record, including theft and violence, dating back to the age of 15.

Parker also had a long list of criminal convictions for robbery, assault and theft dating back to the age of 17 but during the trial said he had been burgling homes since the age of 14.

Smith, of the Fen Road travellers’ site, Cambridgeshire, and Parker, 26, of Nene Road, Ely, had both denied murder. They had each claimed the other was responsible for the killing.

They were convicted yesterday after little more than an hour of jury deliberations.

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Smith was also found guilty of robbery while Parker had admitted this charge.

Smith was jailed for 12 years concurrently for this offence while Parker will serve 10 years and six months.

Amjad Malik, mitigating for Parker, a father-of-three, said his client suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.

Bernard Tetlow, representing Smith, said: “He’s still relatively young, he has two young children and he will now not see them grow up.”

Smith’s father, John Smith, 67, of Wold Gate, Bridlington, North Humberside, previously admitted assisting an offender by providing a false alibi.

He was jailed for two years and six months.