Man who murdered Ilford neighbour with dressing gown cord and stole her bank card jailed for life

 (Met Police/ES composite)
(Met Police/ES composite)

A man who strangled his 67-year-old neighbour with a dressing gown cord before stealing her bank card has been sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum of 20 years in jail.

Jamie Cook, 31, murdered “kind, caring” Hilary Round in a “completely unprovoked attack” at her home in Ilford.

Snaresbrook Crown Court heard how police were called to Ms Round’s home in De Vere Gardens around 1.30pm on October 12, over concerns for her welfare.

Her body was found inside, after police forced entry.

Cook was arrested a short time later at an address in Horns Road, Ilford, where Hilary’s bank card was also found.

Officers had been called to De Vere Gardens after Cook rang his mother, who lived in the flat below Ms Round, and told her he had killed her neighbour “three or four days ago”.

A post mortem established Mr Round’s cause of death as compression to the neck.

Homicide detectives found CCTV footage that showed Cook using Ms Round’s bank card in supermarkets and fast food restaurants on October 6 and 7.

A dressing gown cord found in his mother’s flat was identified as the suspected murder weapon.

Cook was charged with murder on October 14, and pleaded guilty at Snaresbrook Crown Court on March 16.

Cook, of Asthall Gardens, Ilford, also admitted two charges of fraud.

On Thursday, he was sentenced to a minimum jail term of 20 years and 205 days.

Detective Chief Inspector Jo Yorke, the officer in the case, said: “Jamie Cook launched a completely unprovoked attack on a woman in her own home.

“The callous nature of the murder was compounded by the fact he stole a bank card he then used to buy food. He also failed to raise the alarm until almost a week after Hilary Round had died.”

In a victim impact statement, Ms Round’s sister, Louise Moseley, described her as “very kind, caring, friendly, helpful and generous.”

“She saw the best in people,” she said. “She had a Christian faith and very much enjoyed singing in the Seven Kings Gospel Choir.

“She also loved gardening and would help our mother and her neighbours with their gardens. She wanted to make the world a better place.”