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25 July 2013, 12:46
Two men who battered a widowed farmer to death in his own home have been found guilty of murder.
Llywelyn Thomas, 76 [pictured - above], was found dead in his home on December 18 2011 after neighbours became concerned that the lights had been left on all night.
Gary Smith [pictured - middle top], 21, of Fen Road travellers' site, Chesterton,and his nephew, Frankie Parker [pictured -middle bottom], 26, of Nene Road, Ely, had both denied murdering Mr Thomas as they burgled the property in Ely Road, Chittering, the previous night.
But a jury at Cambridge Crown Court found both men guilty of murder after less than two hours of deliberations.
They will be sentenced tomorrow (Friday).
Opening the case, prosecutor Karim Khalil told the court that Smith and Parker had raided Mr Thomas's home the previous night, carrying a crowbar.
After subjecting him to a "horrific'' attack, they stole Mr Thomas's V-registration Rover car, which could not go above 20mph.
Mr Khalil said: "They knocked on the front door, forced their way in and restrained Mr Thomas from impeding them and set about burgling him.
It is now accepted that Mr Thomas was driven back into his own home and assaulted on his doorstep.
They then set about their primary intended business of committing a burglary.
Afterwards, instead of leaving Mr Thomas unhurt, perhaps even bound upstairs, they set about a savage beating - he did not stand a chance.
The assault was mainly to his head, face and upper back.
There were signs of stamping, blood on the floor and doorways, and no defence injuries, so it seems that Mr Thomas was unable even to try to defend himself.
He was left for dead on the upstairs landing.''
Father-of-one Mr Thomas, originally from South Wales, had lived alone since the death of his wife about 10 years earlier.
Both men had insisted they played no part in the attack. Smith said he had tried to stop his nephew while Parker claimed he had been searching another room for valuables when the attack happened.
Detective Chief Inspector George Barr, who led the investigation, said: "This was a savage murder of an elderly man in his own home.
Smith and Parker are both career criminals who had committed countless burglaries.
They must have seen Llywelyn Thomas as an easy target for a burglary but the level of violence used against him was completely unjustified.
He would have posed little threat to them, but they subjected him to a brutal and sustained beating.
This was a challenging and complex investigation which was solved through painstaking detective work. Such a brutal crime understandably caused a lot of anxiety within the community of Chittering and Cambridgeshire.
Thankfully, such incidents are extremely rare and when people commit offences of this nature we will do everything in our power to bring them to justice.
Our thoughts are with Mr Thomas' son, Richard, and his family at this difficult time and hope today's convictions will provide them with some closure to this tragic event."