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Man charged with torturing elderly woman to death

Georgina Edmonds
Georgina Edmonds

A 36-year-old man has gone on trial for the second time for the murder of a 77-year-old woman who was beaten and tortured to death at her home - three years after he was acquitted of the same crime.

Matthew Hamlen faces the "double jeopardy" prosecution at Winchester Crown Court where he is accused of the murder of Georgina Edmonds. He was found not guilty at the same court in January 2012.

The judge, Mr Justice Saunders, told the jury of nine men and three women: "You will hear that the defendant has already been tried by a jury for this offence and that jury found him not guilty.

"The fact that a previous jury has found him not guilty is irrelevant. The presumption of innocence applies to this defendant as it does to any other. You should put out of your mind the fact there has been a previous trial except in so far as it is raised in evidence."

Michael Bowes QC, prosecuting, said Mrs Edmonds was beaten to death with her marble rolling pin at her home in the village of Brambridge, Hampshire, on January 11, 2008.

She suffered several wounds as she was tortured for her debit card PIN number by her murderer who attempted to use it in a cash machine. She was living alone in a cottage in the grounds of her son's house.

"Before death she had been repeatedly wounded with a knife. Her debit card was stolen and there was an attempt later that night to use the card at a nearby cashpoint and it seems likely she was tortured before death in order to obtain her PIN number."

A DNA profile had been found on fibre tapings taken from the left sleeve of her blouse which was matched with the defendant but no fingerprints were found at the cottage. He said the likelihood of the DNA sample coming from Hamlen was 26 million times more likely than coming from someone else.

A mixed DNA profile was also found on the rolling pin which was 800 times more likely to come from a combination of Mrs Edmonds, the defendant and another person than coming from the victim and two other people.

Mr Bowes added: "There is no doubt Georgina Edmonds was murdered, the issue you have to try is whether the person responsible was Matthew Hamlen."

Mobile phone analysis also placed Hamlen close to the murder scene on the same day, he said. Mrs Edmonds' son, Harry, discovered his mother lying in a pool of blood when he went round to check on her, worried she might have had a fall.

Mr Bowes said: "The whole place seemed dark and still and he had a feeling something was just not right. He went into the kitchen and saw his mother's legs lying on the floor. Initially he thought she had fallen. He then saw his mother lying flat on her face completely still with a very significant pool of blood coming from her head or face.

"It was obvious to him she was dead and obviously she had been murdered."

Mr Bowes said that Mrs Edmonds' trousers were found pulled slightly down. He said: "There may be a sexual element to the offence and murder but there is no physical evidence of a sexual assault."

The jury was shown CCTV footage of Mrs Edmonds visiting shops in nearby Colden Common in the days before she was killed. She had undergone hip replacements but would regularly walk her two cocker spaniel dogs.

Hamlen, from Bishopstoke, denies murder and the trial continues.