Man jailed for life for the murder of 65-year-old homeowner

19/09/2016

A man has today been jailed for life after he pleaded guilty at Wolverhampton Crown Court of the murder of a 65-year-old man who was stabbed at his West Bromwich home in 2015.

Friends contacted police amid concerns for the welfare of Ronald Smith. When police entered his home on 2 June 2015, they found the decomposing body of Ronald Smith at the foot of the stairs. He had been stabbed a number of times. Further investigation found that that Mr Smith had been a victim of a burglary on 6 May 2015 and £600 had been stolen from the property.

DNA evidence recovered from beneath the fingernails of Mr Smith was found to be a match for that of Paul Cooke. A fingerprint from the 35-year-old defendant was located in the bedroom of the property where it was believed the victim kept his money.

When it was discovered that Cooke had been recalled on his license a short time following the discovery of the victim's body, the police were able to locate the defendant in order to arrest and charge him with Mr Smith's murder.

Ian Crooks, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said: "Paul Cooke used information gained locally regarding the location of Mr Smith's address and the whereabouts of his money within it. He then attended the victim's address and stabbed him to death when he answered the door to him. Once he had gained access to the property the defendant located the money and left the address, leaving the victim lying dead behind the front door.

"The attack can only be described as callous, perpetrated on a defenceless elderly man in his own home.

"Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of Mr Smith."