Man who beat, gagged and tied up pensioner before leaving her to die convicted of murder

Vasile Culea has been convicted at Derby Crown Court of murdering 86-year-old Freda Walker

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A callous burglar has been convicted of savagely murdering an 86-year-old woman in her home after brutally beating, gagging and tying up the pensioner, before abandoning her to die.

Vasile Culea was also convicted of wounding with intent the victim’s 88-year-old husband; former district councillor and alderman Kenneth Walker, at their home on January 14.

Romanian national Culea “hog-tied” Mr and Mrs Walker – binding their hands and feet – while searching the couple’s Langwith Junction home in Derbyshire for £30,000 in cash which he found out about after claiming to have overheard two strangers chatting about it in a shop.

Freda Walker
Freda Walker

Mrs Walker, who also had a bag put over her head and died of a brain injury, was found dead in the kitchen by emergency services the following day after neighbours raised concerns.

The court heard Mr Walker died some months later, although his death was not connected to the attack.

Culea had already admitted manslaughter of Mrs Walker and the grievous bodily harm of her husband, but prosecutors said he was guilty of fabricating “a nonsense” to cover up for an attack on the couple that went “far beyond any justification; savage in its nature – and sustained”.

The jury of 11 men and one woman unanimously convicted the 34-year-old after just two hours and 15 minutes, having heard his claim that he injured Mrs Walker after “slipping” on a spilt drink and stepping on her chest, after she “fell over” during his attack.

Mr Justice Henshaw said he would carry out sentencing of Culea, of Grove Road, Church Warsop, back at the court on Friday.