Burglar guilty of murdering 88-year-old in his home
A burglar has been found guilty of murdering an 88-year-old man in his home at the height of lockdown.
Darren McClean, 42, was convicted at Guildford Crown Court of killing Dennis Kellond in Godstone, Surrey, during a burglary on Saturday 25 April.
McClean pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the third day of his trial, but this was rejected by the prosecution, who successfully argued he had intended to seriously harm or kill his victim.
Originally, McClean had admitted to being at the scene, but said he had had no contact with Mr Kellond. He instead claimed two other men threatened him with claw hammers when he got off the bus in a nearby village as he owed them money for drugs. He told police that they were with him at the scene and they had killed the victim.
However, only DNA evidence from McClean was found on Mr Kellond's body and no evidence was found of anyone threatening the defendant.
McClean stole his victim’s mobile phone and used it to call his dealers, paying them £200 in cash. A pair of golden cufflinks, thought to be an engagement present, were also stolen from the bungalow and a photo of them was found on a mobile belonging to McClean’s partner, although they have never been recovered.
Moses Koroma, from the CPS, said: “This was a truly appalling attack on an elderly and defenceless man in his own home by a murderer only concerned with stealing to support his drug habit.
“Faced with the sheer weight of evidence against him, McClean was left with no option but to change his plea and admit to killing Dennis Kellond during his trial.
“However, we were not prepared to accept a plea to manslaughter, as the evidence showed McClean intended to do serious harm or kill his victim.
“After launching a brutal attack, McClean left his victim dying in his home and failed to make any 999 call for an ambulance. He has now been brought to justice for the murder he committed.”
Notes to editors
- Darren McClean (D.O.B.: 04/06/1978) was convicted of murdering Dennis Kellond and burglary
- Moses Koroma is a Senior Crown Prosecutor with CPS South East.