DETECTIVES have welcomed the murder conviction of Peter Smith for the brutal killing of neighbour Hilda Owen.
Smith, of West Hill, was convicted of savegely killing his next door neighbour in cold blood in the early part of 2007 by a Nottingham Crown Court jury and given a life term with a minimum term of 27 years.
Hilda was found with 48 fresh injuries, including 29 separate injuries to the head and face.
These were consistent with the use of a claw hammer and screwdriver, while injuries to her neck indicated that she had been strangled,
And speaking outside the court, Detective Superintendent Paul Cottee said: “The evidence against Smith in terms of motive, his behaviour prior to Mrs Owen’s murder and his movements on and immediately after the day of her murder was overwhelming.
“The collation of that evidence is testament to excellent policing work to categorically identify Smith as the person who planned the killing of Mrs Owen in order to benefit financially from her death.
“Smith exercised his legal right to appeal and was granted a re-trial. Preparation for the re-trial has obviously placed significant demands upon police time and has also come at a cost to the tax-payer, yet has ultimately reached the same result as the original proceedings. Nevertheless, it was essential that the right outcome was achieved and we believe that, once again, it has.
“This process has also meant that Mrs Owen’s relatives have again had to endure details of the ordeal she would have suffered at the hands of her killer.
“However, they can now be assured that the man who murdered her has been returned to prison, where he will remain for a very long time.”
Following the verdict, Mrs Owen’s family issued the following statement: “We are very pleased that the jury has returned a guilty verdict so that, once and for all, we can be rid of any uncertainty that lingered over Smith’s original conviction following his appeal.
“We respect his legal right to have sought these proceedings, but it has again been a very upsetting time for us all.
We have been put in the very unusual position of having to endure two trials, which have both reached guilty verdicts against the same man for the same crime.
“We would like to thank the police and the Crown Prosecution Service for their support and determination to ensure the case against Smith remained as strong now as it did in 2008. Hopefully, this verdict will bring an end to this devastating episode in our lives.”