Beds, Herts & Bucks

Man who killed Hertfordshire neighbour for money jailed

William Humphrey
Image caption Mr Humphrey's granddaughter found his body

A heroin addict who stabbed his 94-year-old neighbour to death has been jailed for a minimum of 29 years.

William Humphrey, of Brook Road in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, was killed on 2 February.

Marcio Reis De Sa Barros, 30, gagged and stabbed the World War II veteran when he refused to hand over money.

Sa Barros stole a television and camera. He admitted murder and robbery at St Alban's Crown Court on Monday and was jailed for life on Thursday.

The court was told Mr Humphrey had lent Sa Barros and his wife money in the past.

Sa Barros, who had come to the UK from Portugal in 2006, never repaid him and on 2 February went and asked for more money.

When the widower refused, Sa Barros, a father-of-two, taped his victim's mouth, bound his hands and then used a kitchen knife to stab him.

Prosecutor John Price QC said: "The killer may have attempted to frighten or even torture Mr Humphrey to find out where he kept his valuables and failed and, knowing he would be recognised, killed him."

Mr Humphrey was stabbed 11 times - twice in the head, once in the neck and eight times to the upper chest.

"Mercifully he would have lost consciousness within seconds from the wounds to the heart but it is not known the sequence in which the wounds were inflicted," said Mr Price.

Sa Barros ransacked the property but did not find the safe in Mr Humphrey's flat.

He gave the television to a drug dealer in north London and received £5 cash for the camera from Cash Converters in Borehamwood.

Mr Humphrey's body was discovered by his granddaughter the next morning when she went to cook his breakfast and take him a newspaper.

Judge Stephen Gullick passed a life sentence with a minimum term of 29 years before Sa Barros can be considered for parole.

Mr Humphrey's family said: "It tears us apart to think of the pain and fear Granddad went through during his last moments and no amount of time his killer spends in prison will ever make up for that."

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