Man Guilty of Hexham Pensioner Murder

A self-confessed ``psychopath'' has been found guilty of bludgeoning a pensioner to death with a hammer in Northumberland.

A self-confessed ``psychopath'' has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 35 years after he was found guilty of bludgeoning a pensioner to death with a hammer in Northumberland. 

Graeme Jarman struck Judith Richardson, 77, at least 30 times after forcing his way into her flat in Hexham. Jarman, who denied murder during his trial at Newcastle Crown Court, fled the scene with Miss Richardson's handbag, sparking a major manhunt before he was arrested in Filey, North Yorkshire, a fortnight later. 

Jarman, 48, tricked the spinster into opening her front door by showing her Age UK charity leaflets and immediately began battering her. Her ground floor flat was ransacked and her jewellery was stolen as she lay dying in her hallway. 

She was brutally beaten for a second time as the killer left. During the trial which lasted almost three weeks, Robert Smith QC, prosecuting, said the attack was not random and that Jarman had been following potential victims the day before. 

What the jury did not know is that Jarman was already convicted of locking a teenage girl in his car boot and raping her at gunpoint. A few years later, he barged into a 23-year-old woman's home, tied her up and sexually abused her. Jarman was arrested after Miss Richardson's case received national publicity. His DNA had been found on tissues at Miss Richardson's home and the tissues also had traces of her blood. Jarman's fingerprints were also found on the charity leaflets. 

He was convicted by a 11-1 majority by the jury, which began its deliberations on Tuesday. Jarman showed no emotion as the jury foreman delivered the verdict, reached after seven hours of deliberation. Judge Mr Justice Openshaw said the defendant clearly ``presents an extreme danger to women'' and may never be released from jail.