Man guilty of Stockton pensioner's brutal murder

18/05/2010

A serial burglar who strangled a Stockton grandmother then set fire to her home has been convicted of her murder.

Steven Hodgson, 33, denied killing 85 year old Mrs Pat Thompson in September last year before deliberately starting two fires in her bungalow to try and cover his tracks.

The jury at Teesside Crown Court heard how Hodgson left the scene in a taxi, later using the cash card he had stolen from Mrs Thompson to withdraw £300 from a cash machine.

The prosecution case was presented by an in-house team of Crown Prosecution Service advocates led by Graham Reeds Q.C. with Jolyon Perks, Crown Advocate from CPS Cleveland. Jolyon said: "This was a shocking case. Hodgson took the life of a gentle, popular grandmother who lived on her own. Her death devastated her family and horrified people not just in Stockton, but across the country.

"Hodgson, presumably disturbed by Mrs Thompson while he attempted to burgle her home, turned on her with ruthless force. The DNA evidence suggests she fought back despite the disparity in age and strength and it was this evidence that helped us prove Hodgson's guilt.

"Afterwards Hodgson set fire to her home, trying to destroy any trace of him being there and left the scene in a taxi. The police mounted a major investigation and very soon identified him as a suspect and called us in.

"We have worked extremely hard on this case with the police, and together we have built a convincing case which the jury has accepted by convicting Hodgson of this senseless and violent killing of a defenceless grandmother.

Gerry Wareham, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Cleveland, praised the prosecution team led by Graham and Jolyon and also the efforts of Cleveland Police. He said: "The police were determined from the outset that no effort would be spared in identifying the perpetrator of this horrific crime and the quality and scope of their investigation was the bedrock of this case."