DNA breakthrough sees robber convicted of killing pensioner in 2001

·4-min read

A mugger has been found guilty of killing an elderly woman 20 years ago after a DNA breakthrough in the case.

Junior Young was just 18 years old when he and an accomplice fatally attacked Hilda Lockert, 86, as she returned home in Brixton, south London, on April 30 2001.

During the violent robbery, one teenager took hold of Ms Lockert’s mouth while the other grabbed her by the throat.

According to an account at the time, she felt as if she had been lifted and thrown through the air hitting a wall at the bottom of some stairs, jurors heard.

The youths snatched Mrs Lockert’s purse containing £15, a shopping bag and a bus pass.

The pensioner was left “shocked and very distressed” and “black and blue”, the Old Bailey heard.

She was taken to hospital with a lump on her head, broken leg and pain in her hip and died two weeks later, jurors have heard.

Junior Young will be sentenced on December 20 (Metropolitan Police/PA)
Junior Young will be sentenced on December 20 (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Young was arrested in June 2001, but released without charge.

Following her death, Hilda Lockert Walk in Lambeth, south London, was named in tribute to the “lively” and independent pensioner.

The case remained unsolved for nearly 20 years before Young’s DNA was identified on the handle of Mrs Lockert’s bag.

Young, now aged 39, who grew up in Brixton, was charged with her robbery and manslaughter, which he denied.

The court heard he had admitted two other robberies before and after Mrs Lockert was fatally attacked.

On January 8 1999, he snatched a phone from a woman in the street in Brixton and sold it for £20.

Then on May 10 2001, he targeted a 51-year-old woman as she got into her car in Angel Road, Brixton.

As she put her key in the ignition, Young lunged through the open window and grabbed her by the throat, punched her in the face and made off with her handbag.

Giving evidence in his trial, Young denied robbing Mrs Lockert, saying he had held his “hands up” to everything he had done.

When quizzed on how his DNA got on to the victim’s bag, the defendant said there were a lot of robberies on the estate where he lived at the time.

Prosecutor Edward Brown QC said: “Do you want us to consider that somehow you got into contact with a robber and your robber carried your DNA to rob Mrs Lockert and somehow put your DNA on the handle?”

Young responded: “It’s a possibility.”

A jury deliberated for nearly 20 hours to find Young guilty of robbery and manslaughter by a majority decision of 10 to one.

Judge Nigel Lickley warned Young that he faced a lengthy jail term as he adjourned sentencing until December 20.

He ordered a pre-sentence report to consider all aspects of the defendant, including his dangerousness.

Young made no reaction in the dock as he was remanded into custody.

Detective Chief Inspector Richard Leonard, from Scotland Yard, said: “Up until this attack, Hilda had been a very independent woman who continued to do all of her own shopping and housework.

“Due to her age and the fact she was alone, Young saw her as an easy target and had no regard for the injuries he might cause when he violently robbed her.

“Hilda’s sudden death left her family and those who knew her distraught but she has never been forgotten, thanks in part to them naming a street in Brixton after her.

“Similarly we in the Met have never stopped fighting for justice for Hilda, despite the passage of time. We are pleased that thanks to advances in science Young now faces a significant custodial sentence and we hope this acts as a reminder to others who think they have evaded justice that we will not give up in our quest to find them.”

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