A drug-user has been found guilty of raping and murdering a pensioner who was smothered during a night-time break-in at her home.
Craig Keogh removed wedding and engagement rings and a crucifix from the body of 72-year-old Jane Hings after taking around four minutes to suffocate her using a pillow following an “utterly terrifying” sexual assault.
Jurors at Birmingham Crown Court deliberated for around four hours on Monday before unanimously convicting Keogh, 26, of murder, burglary and two counts of rape.
Jane Hings was smothered during a night-time break-in at her home (Leicestershire Police/PA)
Keogh, of no fixed address, had claimed that his victim was alive when he left her bungalow in Fleckney, near Leicester, in the early hours of September 24 last year.
Police inquiries established that a handbag, a purse and cash had also been taken by Keogh, who was said by witnesses to have been “bubbly” in the days following the killing.
Keogh refused to give evidence at his trial, having claimed in police interviews that he had consensual sex with Mrs Hings, who was described by friends as frail after suffering rib fractures in a fall.
Jurors heard that Keogh appeared to be “off his face” on cocaine in the hours before the murder, and was seen to kick a wing mirror off a car.
He also threatened to assault two pub workers, telling them: “I’m from Fleckney. I’ve seen someone get shanked. I’ve got a piece.”
In her closing speech to the jury, prosecutor Mary Prior QC said Keogh had “deliberately silenced” his victim, who he knew after previously offering to walk her dog.
The court heard Keogh, who left his cap at the scene, got a tongue piercing fixed, went for a carvery meal and visited a supermarket in the hours after the murder.
During her closing remarks, Mrs Prior said of Keogh: “How could you be bubbly and happy in such circumstances? That money – that he took during the course of that burglary – was used on showing off, meals out, drinks for friends – flashing the cash.
“We say it’s very, very clear that he snuck in there and took her things. He took the privacy of her body, and then he took her life quite deliberately.”
Keogh will be sentenced on Tuesday.