Son admits murdering his mother

By Annie DavidsonTHE son of a former traffic warden who was beaten to death in her own home has admitted murdering his mother - and apologised to his family.

By Annie Davidson

THE son of a former traffic warden who was beaten to death in her own home has admitted murdering his mother - and apologised to his family.

Steve Dicker, 36, faces life imprisonment when he appears at court again on January 31 to be sentenced for the murder of his mother, Jean.

Mrs Dicker, 58, was found murdered in her home in Craigfield Avenue, Clacton, on January 29, 2003.

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Her son told police he had returned home from a night out to find his mother's body in the hallway of the bungalow they shared.

But Dicker finally admitted at Basildon Crown Court yesterday that he was the killer and pleaded guilty to murder.

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The case was adjourned for reports to be prepared for the judge to decide how much of a life sentence Dicker should serve before being considered for parole.

Dicker, of Harwich Road, Colchester, made an emotional statement from the dock, saying: “I would like to apologise to my sister and her family for everything I have put them through over the past 20 months.

“Also to my friends as well, and the police. I didn't tell the truth when I should have done.”

The court heard that Dicker had hit his mother at least three times with a hammer and then tried to cover his tracks by disposing of his bloodstained clothes and some items belonging to her.

Peter Lodder QC, prosecuting, said: “Whatever happened in the immediate period before the attack, it is quite clear that very shortly thereafter this defendant had the presence of mind to conceal what really happened and make it look like a burglary that had gone too far.”

Dicker's sister, Tracy Kinton, 38, from Clacton, sat with other family and friends in the court's public gallery during the short hearing.

Afterwards, she said in a statement: “As a family we are relieved that a verdict has been made before Christmas.

“The last year or so has been extremely difficult for us all. It's now approaching the time that we are able to move on and get our lives back to some normality. Finally mum can rest in peace.”

She added that she no longer considered Dicker to be her brother and would not visit him in prison.

Speaking after the hearing, Detective Inspector Neil Luckett, of Essex police's major investigation team, said: “This was a long, difficult investigation which has been going on for nearly two years.

“We are very pleased with the decision by Steve Dicker to plead guilty to murder today. He was a witness at the start of the case and that caused some complications for us throughout the investigation.

“We are pleased for the family that it has reached some form of conclusion today. He will be sentenced on January 31 when the full circumstances of the case will be revealed to the court.”

Asked about Dicker's apology to the police, Det Insp Luckett said: “Obviously he has indicated some feelings of guilt, but it would be better put forward by his defence counsel on January 31.

“We don't get apologies very often, I understand that the apology is something he felt he had to say. It is unusual, but is an unusual case.”

In a statement, Essex Police's senior investigating officer, Detective Superintendent Gareth Wilson, said: “Today brings to an end a 15-month murder investigation which has proved particularly difficult, in main, due to the length of time it took Steve to distance himself from the scene that January night.

“The arrest of Steve in May bought to an end an inquiry which was long, protracted and fraught with complications, not least the fact that we had very few leads from our initial enquiries.

“We, together with Jean's children - including Steve - made several appeals for information using local television, radio and newspapers throughout the first 16 months of the investigation.”

He added: “The past couple of years have been distressing for Jean's family and friends, but at this time of the year with Christmas approaching it must be particularly difficult and naturally our thoughts are with them.

“We are obviously pleased with Steve's judgment today as it reduces any further unnecessary distress for the family of Jean.”

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