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Unemployed man jailed for horrific murder of pensioner with a hammer

Raymond Sykes
Raymond Sykes

A jobless man who claimed he bludgeoned a disabled pensioner to death with a claw hammer as an act of "mercy" has been jailed for at least 25 years for murder.

Cash-strapped Raymond Sykes attacked his former neighbour, Arthur Walters-Girout, 82, in his own home on Monday June 15 last year, leaving him with a fractured skull and cheekbone.

As the divorced father-of-two's body lay undiscovered, Sykes, 36, made off in the victim's car with his HSBC card.

Having extracted the PIN, Sykes joined Jason and Ashley Hill for a spending spree in JD Sports and GS Superfoods in Woolwich, south east London.

The jury deliberated for two days to find Sykes, of Engineer Close, Woolwich, guilty of murder on Tuesday.

He failed to appear in the dock as Judge Peter Rook QC jailed him for life and set the minimum term he should stay behind bars before being considered for release.

The judge rejected as "wholly inconceivable" Sykes's continued claim that he had tried to help his victim kill himself and said his real motivation for the "savage attack" on such a vulnerable man was for gain.