Homeless man murdered 83-year-old who offered him home, court told

A homeless man murdered an 83-year-old woman who took him in and burnt her body on a bonfire after she asked him to leave, a court had been told. Allan Scott, 42 is accused of murdering Patricia Holland at her home in Gorleston, Norfolk, after she “offered him a roof over his head”. The court heard that after moving in the defendant started acting “aggressively” towards Ms Holland.  

David Spens, KC, prosecuting, told the court Ms Holland was a “charitable woman concerned with people who were down on their luck and the homeless”.

In March 2020 Scott moved in with the 83-year-old great-grandmother.

The court heard that “often he was the worse for drink” and occasionally “became violent” and “controlling” towards her. 

Mr Spens continued: “By the time a year or so had passed, by May or June 2021 if not before, Mrs Holland wanted him out of her home.

“Mr Scott however was determined to stay and his best chance of being able to stay in her house was if she went missing.”

The prosecution argues the defendant attacked Ms Holland and burned her body on a bonfire in the garden in an attempt to destroy evidence of her on July 24, 2021.

Mr Spens told the court: “He did that, we say, so he could pretend she had gone missing knowing full well that the little that remained of her after the fire he had set lay buried in her back garden.”

Ms Holland was described as having a “heart of gold” and a “lovely kind-hearted woman”. 

The court heard that it was not possible to tell whether she was dead before she was put on the bonfire.

Mr Spens added: “When the police found her burnt and charred body there was so little of it left it wasn’t possible to discover the cause of her death.” 

Scott denies the murder but pleaded guilty to the offence of unlawfully preventing a burial.

Judge Alice Robinson told the court that the defendant had “been involved with mental health services” for several years and had a personality disorder. 

She added that he had been deemed fit for trial and asked jurors not to form judgments from Scotts behaviour in the dock which had been “unusual”. 

The trial, estimated to last for three weeks, continues.

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