A THIEF who sexually assaulted and murdered an 89-year-old widow in a seven hour ordeal at her own home has today been jailed for life.
Sick Reece Dempster, 23, battered widow Dorothy Woolmer to death at her Tottenham home before making off with two bottles of alcohol and cash.
And just hours later, he confessed to his former partner Nikita Richards, telling her he had been smoking crack and drinking when he went to rob a house – adding “I think I hurt someone”.
He also told her he “only got a hundred quid – it wasn’t even worth it.”
The 23-year-old looked at the floor and nodded today as he was jailed at the Old Bailey for life, with a minimum term of 34 years.
Mrs Woolmer’s lifeless body was found, half-naked and wrapped “like a mummy”, in her bed by her sister and a close friend who were concerned when the “independent and feisty” pensioner failed to answer the door or respond to calls.
Dempster yesterday dramatically changed his plea partway through the trial – showing little emotion as he admitted to one count of murder and two of sexual assault by penetration.
The court previously heard how Dempster had “cased” the Tottenham home of Mrs Woolmer before forcing open the back door and hunting for money in August last year.
He then set upon Mrs Woolmer – assaulting her for seven hours and repeatedly hitting her on the head with his fists.
And it was revealed yesterday he had been wearing an electronic tag when he broke into the home, under a curfew after being given a suspended jail term for a previous burglary.
The vulnerable pensioner, who was less than 5ft tall and weighed under eight stone, suffered 10 or more blows to the head, in the ordeal that lasted seven hours.
Sentencing Dempster today, Justice Edis told him: “She (Mrs Woolmer) was tiny and defenceless and you knew that. “Because of you, she died an unimaginably dreadful death.
“You seemed to have killed her for pleasure in your drunken state, the murder involved sexual or sadistic conduct.
“You are a very dangerous man.”
A month before Dempster had been touring the area offering to do gardening work, secretly picking out homes occupied by elderly victims which would make ideal burglary targets.
As he “mangled” Ms Woolmer’s flowerbeds in Waltheof Gardens with a lawn mower he found out she lived alone after her husband of 60 years, Ken Woolmer, a former Royal Navy engineer who served on HMS Belfast passed away.
Anthony Orchard QC told the court fingerprints belonging to Dempster matched those found at the scene.
The killer was caught on CCTV nearby, seen vomiting three times as he left the home.
He later told his ex-girlfriend: “You have to understand I was smoking crack and drinking gin, I just blacked out and then I turned a light on and there was blood everywhere. And then I ran.”
How someone could perpetrate such vile acts on a lone and vulnerable elderly woman is beyond my comprehension
Detective Inspector Garry Moncrieff
Detective Inspector Garry Moncrieff of Specialist Crime led the investigation and said even experienced officers were shocked with the “disturbing” details of the attack.
He said: “How someone could perpetrate such vile acts on a lone and vulnerable elderly woman is beyond my comprehension.
“Dorothy Woolmer was a proud and independent woman and to have her life ended by this man’s monstrous acts is beyond tragic.
“Dempster initially tried to avoid responsibility for her murder claiming he was so high on drink and drugs that he did not know what he was doing.
“But it was clear that he planned the burglary and then committed deliberate and gross acts of violence.
“He is fully accountable for his wicked acts and will have a very long time to contemplate their consequences.”
Mrs Woolmer was remembered as a “wonderful, full of life, beautiful woman”.
And her sister Lilian Richardson, 77, slammed the OAP’s killer, saying: “He is a horrible human being who deserves the most severe punishment known to man.”
She said she now checks her wardrobe and under her bed before she goes to sleep at night and bursts into tears at any moment – unable to forget how she found her sister.
She said: “This will live with me for the rest of my life.”
Dempster wrote a letter to the judge apologising for what he had done and claims he is “utterly disgusted” with himself
Hossein Zahir, in mitigation, said Dempster had been encouraged to commit offences after being introduced to crack cocaine by his father.
Mr Zahir added: “He observes in his letter that he is truly sorry for his disgraceful and selfish actions. He looks back and feels utterly disgusted with himself.
“He says that ‘I am sorry that I took so long to accept what I did I just couldn’t face it’.”
Prosecutors at the Old Bailey decided against proceeding with a further count of rape.