Man who beat, gagged and tied up pensioner before leaving her to die jailed

Vasile Culea has been jailed at Derby Crown Court for murdering 86-year-old Freda Walker in her home

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A burglar has been jailed at Derby Crown Court for life with a minimum term of 34 years for murdering 86-year-old Freda Walker in her home after beating, gagging and tying up the pensioner and leaving her to die.

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

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 had heard they had.

Freda Walker
Freda Walker

On Friday, judge Mr Justice Henshaw, sentencing, told Derby Crown Court: “You attacked them both leaving them with brain injuries, lacerations and many other injuries.

“Very sadly, Freda Walker died within an hour or so of this savage attack.”

He went on:”You murdered Freda Walker for gain because you killed her in the course of the furtherance of your burglary.”

Michael Auty KC, prosecuting, had highlighted the “vulnerability” of Mr and Mrs Walker as an aggravating feature.

He also told the court about Culea’s previous conviction of assault in 2017, relating to an incident involving his then partner.

Defence Clive Stockwell KC, mitigating, suggested Culea’s violence had not been pre-meditated but spontaneous.