Man sentenced to minimum of 30 years in prison for murder


David Clairmonte, 26, of Thorn View Road, Houghton Regis has been found guilty of murdering Frederick Hodsdon, a 69-year-old man from Luton.

A jury returned the guilty verdict this morning, Thursday, 26 January 2012 after a three week trial at Luton Crown Court and David Clairmonte was sentenced to life imprisonment, to serve a minimum of 30-years.

The jury heard how during the early evening of Saturday, 25 June 2011, a neighbour had found Fred at his ransacked home in Vespers Close bound with tape and suffering from serious head injuries.

Fred died from his injuries at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital later that same night and officers from the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit launched a murder investigation.

Shortly after Fred died, David Clairmonte was arrested at his home address and subsequently charged with murder, following advice from Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Clairmonte had gained entry to Fred's home under the pretence that he was visiting in connection with some building work.  Fred was viciously assaulted by Clairmonte in an attempt to force him to hand over his ATM pin number and other valuables.  A hammer was used to inflict the fatal blows.  The recovery of that blood stained hammer together with conclusive forensic evidence from it and the scene were critical evidence in this prosecution.

Punckaj Parmar, Senior Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern CPS said: "We have worked closely with the police since this murder investigation was launched.

"This was a brutal and cowardly crime involving a very vulnerable and elderly victim who was savagely attacked.  Clairmonte saw Fred as an easy target and took advantage of his good nature.

"The motivation for this crime is believed to be financial.  Clairmonte was looking for cash to feed his drug and alcohol habit.

"As a result of the hard work and diligence by the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved for the victim and his family, friends, and neighbours.  I hope that it brings them some comfort.

"Our thoughts remain with Fred's family, friends, and neighbours at this time."