Mary Roberts murder trial: Andrew Ratcliffe guilty

Andrew Ratcliffe and Mary Roberts on Risbygate Street
Image caption CCTV showed the pair arriving at the pub in the afternoon, while Ratcliffe was seen on his own at 03:30 GMT

A "sexually obsessed" man has been found guilty of murdering a 50-year-old woman at a pub in Bury St Edmunds.

Mary Roberts was found sexually assaulted and strangled at the rear of the St Edmunds Tavern in March.

Andrew Ratcliffe, 56, who lived at Petch Close in the town, has been found guilty of killing her. He will be sentenced on Wednesday.

The week-long trial at Ipswich Crown Court heard he was arrested with a pair of her knickers in his pocket.

The jury heard that Ratcliffe also had a ring belonging to his victim, who had a drink problem.

Ms Roberts, formerly of Long Melford, had been living in the same Petch Close flat as Ratcliffe for two weeks.

CCTV evidence

The pair had been out drinking in Bury St Edmunds on Tuesday 26 March.

CCTV images captured them leaving the rear of the St Edmunds Tavern on Risbygate Street just before midnight.

Ratcliffe was filmed at the front of the pub at 03:30 before walking through its backyard and on to the bus station car park.

Image caption Mary Roberts had developed a drink problem after an accident, the court heard

Ms Roberts's body was found in the Tavern's covered outdoor smoking area later that morning by the landlady.

The prosecution argued that Ratcliffe had been sexually obsessed with her, but she had rejected his advances.

The court heard her DNA was found on his fingers, while his DNA was found on her chest.

Ratcliffe denied killing her, claiming in court that he had been talking with Ms Roberts in the smoking area before falling asleep on the ground.

Det Insp Kevin Hayward said: "We are very grateful to members of the public who came forward.

"This information, together with the forensic evidence that was gathered, helped secure Ratcliffe's conviction.

"Mary Roberts was a vulnerable woman who sadly died a horrendous death.

"We hope that the verdict today will go some way to provide some closure for her family and friends."

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