Father of Leiston woman who murdered her uncle tells of his despair

Susan Warne has pleaded guilty to the murder of John Proctor

Susan Warne has pleaded guilty to the murder of John Proctor - Credit: Archant

The father of a gambling addict who murdered her 80-year-old uncle in his Leiston home last night said he did not realise how bad her problems were.

Yesterday Susan Warne, of Valley Road, Leiston, pleaded guilty at Ipswich Crown Court to murdering John Proctor.

Mr Proctor’s body was found at his house in Grimsey Road on June 15, two days after his death.

In the lead up to his killing Warne is said to have stolen £940 from her father Norman Thompson during a burglary and attempted to rob a 90-year-old woman in Walberswick three days before she murdered Mr Proctor.

Mr Thompson said his 41-year-old daughter’s life had crumbled after she could not longer work as a gardener and was consumed by debt due to an online bingo gambling addiction.

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Despite what has happened Warne’s family are still supportive of her.

Mr Thompson said: “I blame myself in a way because I feel I could have helped her more. But it was a job to know what to do. I did all I could for her. I didn’t know how bad her problems were.”

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The 76-year-old believes his daughter’s world began to crumble after she ended up losing jobs as a self-employed gardener – working mainly around Kelsale - due to ill health.

Forced to take a job as a cleaner at Tesco’s stores in Saxmundham and Southwold, Warne found it increasingly difficult to cope financially.

Mr Thompson, a prize-winning gardener himself, said: “She loved he gardening work and she was happy with it.

“She enjoyed it. She used to work in the mornings, sometimes until about two o’clock and then came home.”

However, Warne became ill with stomach issues and had to go to hospital.

Mr Thompson said: “They couldn’t find out what it was and then she had a bad shoulder and couldn’t work for a while. It had a big impact.

“I think she must have been hard up for money or she wouldn’t have started gambling, but I can’t be sure as she never told me much.

“If she had said to me ‘I can’t keep my gardening jobs going’ I would have done them and she would probably have still had them and not have the problems she has now.

“About two years ago she just said she had got in trouble with gambling on the internet. I know Darren (Warne’s husband) took out a loan to help her.

“She seemed to be worried, but she doesn’t say much. That’s her trouble. She never has done. She is very quiet and didn’t say a lot at all. She just gets on with things.

“A couple of years ago she stopped giving presents at Christmas and I knew there was something wrong.”

Mr Thompson said Warne stole money from him about four or five weeks before Warne killed her uncle.

“I had a break-in and hand money taken out of a drawer. It turned out to be Susan. She must have been desperate to do that. There was £940 in there.

“Police got here and charged her with it.

“I did have my suspicions. She had been gardening with me the day before and apparently had lost her key and was looking for it in the garden, but that was just an excuse.

“I was upset about it. I did feel I let her down, but she is my daughter. She had never done anything before like that.

“She hadn’t been right for a long while.

Asked why Warne had gone to visit her uncle that morning Mr Thompson replied: “I haven’t got a clue. I’m completely baffled. I just feel so upset. It’s awful really.

“I don’t understand why she did it at all. It was completely out of character.”

A date has yet to be set for Warne’s sentencing.

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