Man whose father strangled mother given life sentence for murdering pensioner | UK news

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A man whose father strangled his mother to death when he was a child has been ordered to serve at least 25 and a half years of a life sentence for battering a pensioner to death.

Alexander Kerry, 23, of Norwich, appeared at Ipswich crown court for sentencing after pleading guilty to murdering 82-year-old Pauline King.

Prosecutor Andrew Jackson said the killer, desperate for money, had broken into King’s home in February this year and beat her to death with two hammers.

The court heard he had been left deeply damaged after his father murdered his mother as he and his brother slept at their home in 2002.

Jailing him, Mr Justice Stuart-Smith said he acted with “animal brutality” to murder King.

He added: “This wasn’t your first experience of violent death because when you were 10 years old your father murdered your mother while you slept in the house. Although it was thought at the time you coped well with that tragedy, it is quite clear that it remained with you and affected you ever since.

CCTV image of Pauline King at a local shop days before her death.



CCTV image of Pauline King at a local shop days before her death. Photograph: Norfolk Constabulary/PA

“But nothing begins to explain what you did to Pauline King on that night. She must have suffered terribly. She was a poor, elderly, defenceless and no doubt terrified lady who had done nothing except have the misfortune to be burgled by you.”

His father, Scott Kerry, then 35, was found guilty of murder and jailed for life in December 2002 after a jury heard he strangled his wife, Heather Kerry, 33, to death in May that year.

The trial heard a fight had started at the family’s home in Toftwood, Norfolk, because he believed she was having an affair with a policeman.

Describing the impact of the killing on the couple’s two sons, Jackson said: “This must have had a profound effect on both of them.”

He said Alexander Kerry had a criminal record, including for violence and disorderly behaviour, dating back to his teens.

The court heard King lived alone and her house in Norwich was an easy target for burglars.

She confronted Alexander Kerry, who had recently been released from a psychiatric unit, as he broke in through a rear window in the early hours of 22 February.

“Using two hammers he found in the kitchen, he launched a brutal and sustained attack,” Jackson said.

Afterwards, he dragged her through the house and carried on the attack with a kitchen knife.

When police arrived, they found blood smeared across the ground floor and her body curled up in a fireplace.

CCTV image of Alexander Kerry at the Plough pub on the night of the murder.



CCTV image of Alexander Kerry at the Plough pub on the night of the murder. Photograph: Norfolk Constabulary/PA

Forensic examinations found she suffered 80 separate injuries, including 27 to her head and face.

Jackson said there was forensic evidence King had been sexually assaulted. Alexander Kerry denied the sexual assault and this charge was left on file.

The night before the murder, he had drunk large amounts of beer and whisky, eventually running out of money and leaving the city’s Plough pub with “an urgent need to steal”.

After killing King, he ransacked the house before making off with low-value items such as decorative teaspoons, playing cards and a jewellery box. He then tried to set fire to the house to destroy the evidence, Jackson said.

Later that day he phoned his brother and said: “I’m in trouble and I’m covered in blood.” He then returned to the area, where residents, alarmed at his blood-splatted appearance and erratic, drunken behaviour, called the police.

Officers searched him and found an envelope with King’s address on it. They went to her home and discovered the body.

Jonathan Goodman, mitigating, said his client had self-medicated through alcohol and drugs following the almost “unimaginable” events of his childhood.

He had been provisionally diagnosed with an acute psychotic episode after setting fire to a van in Cornwall in January but was discharged into the community.

“He struggled to come to terms over a considerable period with the changes in the dynamics of his family which have haunted them,” Goodman said.

He thought the house was abandoned and did not expect anybody would be inside, he added.

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