Hilda Owen murder trial: Peter Smith guilty of killing neighbour in Skegby
Former civil servant Peter Smith has been convicted for a second time of the murder of his elderly neighbour Hilda Owen.
The 48-year-old was accused of killing Mrs Owen in a bid to solve his financial troubles.
He was sentenced to life in prison at Nottingham Crown Court today, with a minimum term of 27 years.
He denied writing Mrs Owen's will - which left everything to him - without her there and claimed she had been there when he wrote it.
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But the jury found he had bought a will-making kit shortly before her murder, backdated it and filled it out in her name.
Seventy-one-year-old Mrs Owen's body was found on the floor in the living room of her home in West Hill, Skegby, on March 1, 2007.
Her injuries were consistent with the use of a claw hammer and a screwdriver.
She also had a broken bone in her neck, indicating she had been strangled.
Injuries to her hands suggested she had tried to defend herself.
Blows to her head caused brain injuries that led to her death, but the pattern of injuries showed she had been alive after the attack for 15 to 24 hours.
Smith, who had reported finding Mrs Owen’s body at her house in West Hill on 1 March 2007, was arrested a few weeks later and subsequently charged with her murder.
He was originally convicted of the killing in December 2008 and sentenced to life imprisonment, but was granted a re-trial after appealing against the conviction in 2010.
Following the verdict, Mrs Owen’s family said: “We are very pleased that the jury has returned a guilty verdict so that, once and for all, we can be rid of any uncertainty that lingered over Smith’s original conviction following his appeal.
“We respect his legal right to have sought these proceedings, but it has again been a very upsetting time for us all. We have been put in the very unusual position of having to endure two trials which have both reached guilty verdicts against the same man for the same crime.
“We would like to thank the police and the Crown Prosecution Service for their support and determination to ensure the case against Smith remained as strong now as it did in 2008. Hopefully, this verdict will bring an end to this devastating episode in our lives.”