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Disgruntled neighbour jailed for murdering a beloved grandmother

|News, Violent crime

A disgruntled neighbour who violently murdered a 71-year-old grandmother then hid in a nearby allotment, has today been jailed for life.

Brian Coote, 65, lived in Flamstead next door to 71-year-old Christine Ford and regularly complained about the noise her grandchildren made to his friends and the owner of the shared building they lived in.

The day before her death, Ms Ford told her friend that Coote was refusing to speak to her because the grandchildren had come around for a visit.  The following evening, he brutally murdered her by stabbing her 18 times and fracturing her skull with a hammer.

Following the deadly attack, Coote covered Ms Ford’s body with a blanket in his home, hid the knife in some bushes in his garden, then drove to the nearby allotment where he hid for four days.

Concerned that he hadn’t heard from his mum, Ms Ford’s son went around to her house to find the door unlocked and reported her missing to the police- only to find her body next door.

Coote was arrested on 29 July and when interviewed he gave no account of what had happened. Unsent letters found at his home suggested an interest in Ms Ford which was not reciprocated.

The court heard how, the night before the murder, the typically unkempt Coote had gone to the pub having showered and wearing a clean top and jeans.

Charles White of the CPS said: “This catastrophic chain of events was likely set in motion the day before the murder when Coote refreshed his appearance. One possibility is that he had tried- and failed- to impress Ms Ford on that fateful day, but sadly we may never know the real reason why Coote carried out such a brutal attack.

“While Ms Ford’s family waited anxiously for her to return home, Coote knew that was never going to happen but failed to give them the answers they deserved by hiding in the allotment.

“Ms Ford was beloved by her family and members of the local community where she regularly volunteered and I hope today’s sentence brings them some comfort.”

Brian Coote pleaded guilty to murder on 2 January 2020 at Luton Crown Court and has today been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 15 years.


Notes to editors

Charles White is a Senior Crown Prosecutor in the Complex Casework Unit in CPS Thames and Chiltern

Brian Coote (04/10/1954)


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