Life sentence for pensioner's murder

KILLER Simon Hall should accept his punishment for the "brutal" and "undignified" murder of Suffolk pensioner Joan Albert, her family said last night.Hall was sentenced to life imprisonment at London's High Court yesterday but his solicitor said an appeal against his conviction was already underway.

KILLER Simon Hall should accept his punishment for the "brutal" and "undignified" murder of Suffolk pensioner Joan Albert, her family said last night.

Hall was sentenced to life imprisonment at London's High Court yesterday but his solicitor said an appeal against his conviction was already underway.

Hall, 25, of Hill House Road, Ipswich, was found guilty of murdering the elderly widow on February 28 at Norwich Crown Court after a 12-day trial. The jury took just under six hours to convict the former electricity firm worker by an 11 to one majority.

Speaking after yesterday's hearing, Mrs Albert's niece Glynis Dzundza, said: "If somebody's life is taken away, you have to expect your own to be taken with it. You have to expect to be punished.


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"A lot of lives have been destroyed by this, more than anyone will ever know.

"Simon Hall's punishment will last a long time."

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Mrs Albert, 79, was found dead at her home in Boydlands, Capel St Mary, by neighbours on December 16, 2001.

Her body had suffered a number of stab wounds caused by a kitchen knife taken from her home.

Dressed in a black suit, lemon shirt and pale yellow chequered tie, Hall listened to yesterday's proceedings with a sombre expression.

He looked shaken as Mrs Justice Rafferty told him that Mrs Albert's death had been both "brutal" and "undignified".

"Dogged and painstaking police work eventually led to you, linking you to her home and her body by two different types of fibres," she said.

"Why you chose in the small hours of the morning to break into her home, may never be known."

The judge told Hall his parents must feel devastated after showing loyalty to him during "testing years" when he had acquired a criminal record for violence.

Only one sentence could be passed, she added, "you will go to prison for life."

Before Hall was sentenced, his barrister, Peter Rouch QC, urged Mrs Justice Rafferty to consider the fact that the prosecution's case was that Mrs Albert's murder had been a "burglary that went wrong".

He said there was never any suggestion that whoever killed the pensioner had gone to her home to deliberately take her life.

Mr Rouch also said Hall's previous convictions for violence, an assault in McDonalds in 1997 and another for wounding, was a result of a street fight.

"He is only 25. He has a strong family union. Whenever he comes out of custody he will have that unit."

During the trial, the prosecution claimed Hall targeted Mrs Albert's home because of his special knowledge about her living circumstances.

His mother, Lyn Hall had walked the widow's pet dog Rusty and it was alleged Hall once told ex-girlfriend Joanne Blowers that she lived on her own and was from a wealthy background.

Graham Parkins QC, said Hall broke into the widow's home in the early hours of December 16, 2001, with the intention of burgling the property.

Hall told police he was drinking in an Ipswich pub on the night of her murder, and moved to Liquid Nightclub, then drove home and arrived at his parents' house in Snowcroft, Capel, as 6.28am.

The prosecution said there was a missing hour unaccounted for. The main evidence of the trial centered on more than a thousand fibres found in Hall's wardrobe at his Snowcroft home, his Audi car and in his home in Hill House Road, Ipswich.

Forensic experts were unable to distinguish them from those found at Mrs Albert's home and on her body, the court heard.

Hall's family sat silent and expressionless as he was taken down to the cells.

They declined to comment after the case.

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