Killer Of Southampton Airport Worker Jailed For Life

14 February 2019, 17:12 | Updated: 14 February 2019, 17:23

Tommy Scott

A life sentence has been handed to a man who murdered a Southampton grandfather - to steal his car, phone and bank cards.

Tommy Scott, 34, of no fixed address, appeared at Winchester Crown Court after he admitted killing Gerald Pragnell at a hearing last month.

The body of the 66-year-old was found in woodland off of Cemetery Road, on November 3.

Mr Pragnell had been reported missing by his family on November 2 after he failed to return home from work on November 1.

He was last seen leaving work at Southampton Airport at around 6.30am in his silver Mercedes GLA.

The court heard how Scott had strangled Mr Pragnell with a piece of material he was using as a belt, before leaving his body under leaves.

During his interview at the police station following his arrest, Tommy Scott admitted killing Mr Pragnell.

He also admitted taking Mr Pragnell’s car which he later sold to drug dealers and used his bank cards to make a number of purchases in different areas of Southampton and Botley. 

He further admitted to returning to Mr Pragnell’s body to remove a ring that he had been wearing which was later sold at a pawn shop.

Today (14 February), Scott was sentenced to life in prison and will serve a minimum of 27 years.

His Honour Judge Keith Cutler stressed that 27 years would be the minimum he would serve and that he may never be released.

Speaking after the sentencing his family said:

"Tommy Scott's actions have resulted in our dad never getting to spend another day with his grandson, his children, his partner and extensive network of family and friends.

"The sentence for what he did to our dad will never be enough.

"We would like to thank the police investigation team and our family liaison officers for their compassion, tenacity and support over recent months."

Detective Chief Inspector Dave Morgan added: "Our thoughts are with the family of Mr Pragnell on this very difficult day.

"Having spent time with Mr Pragnell's family and having heard their moving statements in court today, it is clear that he was a much-loved man and his sudden death has had a devastating impact on them.

"Today's sentence, following Scott's guilty plea at the earliest opportunity, is a testament to the determination and professionalism of my investigation team who have worked tirelessly to get justice for them."

Following the guilty plea, Bernadette Kearney from the Crown Prosecution Service said 

“Tommy Scott has taken the life of a man who had been looking forward to his retirement later this year.  He has left his partner and family and friends completely devastated.  Mercifully, Tommy Scott has pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and has spared them the further trauma of a trial.  My thoughts are his partner, his family and friends at this unbearably tragic time”.