2 July 2013, 13:25
A man has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering great-grandmother Delia Hughes at her home in Southampton.
The trial heard Jamie Boult was a man with a "social phobia'' who only communicated with people over Twitter and the internet.
The 25-year-old from Chessel Crescent in Bitterene has today (Tuesday 2 July) been found guilty of murdering the 85-year-old Delia Hughes after the judge said the jury could reach a majority verdict - He's been told he'll spend at least 25 years in jail.
He was also found guilty of aggravated burglary.
William Mousley QC told the court that Mrs Hughes, a widow with three great-grandchildren, was attacked in the bedroom of her ground floor flat in Ocean Village, Southampton, at breakfast-time on August 18 last year.
She was struck on the head with the mallet-type weapon at least eight times and also suffered a crushed little finger and blows to her arms and her shoulders as she attempted to defend herself, Mr Mousley said.
After sentencing Carl Anderson, Senior Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service in Wessex said:
"On 18 August 2012, Jamie Boult brutally killed Delia Hughes in her home. He struck her repeatedly about the head with a hammer. He had the hammer with him because he specifically intended to kill someone that day.
"Delia Hughes was a lively 85-year-old pensioner living alone. She was a total stranger to Jamie Boult and most sadly became his choice of victim simply because he was passing through the area where she lived and she'd left open the patio doors to her flat.
"Having killed her, he pocketed some jewellery before he went into her kitchen and drank a carton of orange juice. He then left through the same patio doors ensuring that the curtains were drawn behind him.
"The jury at Winchester Crown Court heard that four days before the murder Jamie Boult burgled a neighbour's home in Chessel Crescent.
"Luckily for these neighbours they were out at the time. They returned to find their home had been broken into; jewellery and an expensive guitar were stolen. Later, an axe that did not belong to the neighbours was found in the vicinity of the burgled home.
"Four days later, Jamie Boult entered Mrs. Hughes' home and carried out his cold and brutal attack on a defenceless elderly woman.
"Jamie Boult's defence was one of diminished responsibility. Today, the jury rejected that defence and convicted him of murder. I would like to thank and commend the Hampshire police officers involved in investigating this harrowing crime and bringing it to closure. Our thoughts are especially with the family of Mrs Hughes at this time."