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Man admits stabbing 82-year-old

Dennis Plater
Dennis Plater

A man has admitted murdering an 82-year-old pensioner who was found in his home with 40 knife wounds.

David Hall, 47, entered a guilty plea to killing Dennis Plater, in Stroud, Gloucestershire, between November 5 and 8 last year.

Mr Plater, a model-railway enthusiast, was discovered at his detached home in Walkley Hill in the Cotswold town on November 7.

Police arrested Hall, from Stroud, more than 100 miles away in Southsea, Hampshire, two days later.

Hall had denied murdering Mr Plater during a hearing at Bristol Crown Court in February but he changed his plea at an appearance before the same court today.

Judge Neil Ford QC, the Recorder of Bristol, adjourned the case for a date to be fixed.

"Mr Hall, you will remain in custody until that date," the judge told Hall, who wore tracksuit bottoms and a red t-shirt.

Hall spoke only to confirm his name and plea during the short hearing.

Prosecutor Christopher Quinlan QC said a further hearing was required to establish whether the attack was to steal money.

"We will also consider whether it was a matter involving sadistic conduct given the nature and the number and the location of the 40 fresh knife injuries he sustained," Mr Quinlan added.

Jonathan Challinor, defending, presented the court with a basis of plea, insisting the murder had not been for financial gain.

"The final point of that basis denying theft of cash is disputed," Mr Challinor said.

"The case being whether the injuries sustained by Mr Plater are indicative of an attempt to persuade him to reveal the whereabouts of his cash or whether they are more consistent with a frenzied attack.

"There is evidence concluding a short fall in cash which arises on the basis on analysis of the victim's account books."

The judge said he would hear evidence about the issue during the next hearing, when Hall will be sentenced.

Mr Plater's family paid tribute to the pensioner following his death, describing him as a "beloved husband, father, brother and grandfather".

"Dennis and his wife Mary moved to Stroud in 2004 to be closer to their daughter and her family; they had come to call it home," they said.

"Dennis enjoyed crafts, tapestry and was most happy tinkering with his model railway.

"It is incomprehensible that we have lost Dennis in this way, and the family would like to ask that you respect our privacy at this difficult time.

"We thank all the Gloucestershire Police force for their hard work, help and support."