Raymond Kay was sentenced to life on Tuesday, as advances in forensic science meant he was finally brought to justice 25 years after murdering 86-year-old Amy Shepherd.
Miss Shepherd was strangled with a tea towel and sexually assaulted, before Kay slashed her throat with a knife on August 2, 1994. Missing items from her home, such as a ring, suggested the motive for the crime was robbery.
Kay, who is now a 70-year-old man, was eventually identified after swabs and a hair taken from the victim's neck were subjected to more advanced DNA testing.
A jury at Bradford Crown Court heard how Miss Shepherd was living in a sheltered accommodation flat in Wibsey, Bradford, at the time and had been "security conscious", therefore recognised Kay as a trusted person when she let him in.
Kay, of Baker Fold in Halifax, was delivering a 'meals on wheels' service as part of a community order for previous offending when he entered the flat and decided to steal two rings and a watch, which were ultimately of little monetary value.
He then inflicted what a judge described as an "unnecessary, cruel and grotesque" act of violence, before going on to evade justice for 25 years.
A review of the historic case in January last year led to Kay's arrest, in which police bodycam footage shown to the jury revealed his reaction to be arrested over the murder was, "you're joking".
The jury also heard how opportunities to bring Kay to justice were missed when he was questioned back in 1996 due to his work delivering meals to the pensioner's home at Folly Hall Gardens.
Miss Shepherd was one of two elderly women murdered within a fortnight of each other, with the killer of the second victim, Mary Kilbride, standing trial for Amy's murder back in 2000.
Richard Whelan, 23, was however cleared of Miss Shepherd's murder on directions of the judge.
Upon conviction, the Honourable Mrs Justice O'Farrell jailed Kay for life with a minimum of 17 years, meaning he is likely to die in prison.
Following the sentence, Miss Shepherd's family released a statement, in which they described her as a "lovely, harmless old lady who did not deserve the cruelty she endured".
The family said: "There has not been a day which has gone by since that fateful day when we have not thought about her. We talk about her often and miss her dearly, even after so many years.
"Not knowing who had committed such an awful crime has caused us severe anxiety, upset and at times, depression. It has had a huge impact on our family and hearing that someone was finally charged with her murder has given us hope that we can finally have some closure.
"We would like to thank the police and everyone involved in this investigation for their perseverance in seeking justice for our beloved Amy."