Farmer 'left for dead' by burglars

76-year-old Llywelyn Thomas
76-year-old Llywelyn Thomas Photo:

A widowed farmer was savagely battered and left for dead in his own Cambridgeshire home by two burglars, a court has heard. Llywelyn Thomas, 76, was found dead inside his home in Ely Road, Chittering, on December 18.

Prosecutor Karim Khalil told Cambridge Crown Court that Gary Smith and Frankie Parker arrived at Mr Thomas's home the previous night carrying a crowbar and forced their way in.

"They knocked on the front door, forced their way in and restrained Mr Thomas from impeding them and set about burgling him."Before they left, Mr Thomas was subjected to a savage beating, mainly to the head, using fists and feet."He was left for dead on the upstairs landing."

Mr Thomas was also struck with the crowbar, Mr Khalil added.

During the incident, ornamental eggs, watches, a wallet and a V-reg Rover car which was used as a getaway vehicle were stolen.

Parker, 26, of Nene Road, Ely, and Smith, 21, of no fixed address, both deny murder. Smith denies robbery. Smith's father John Smith, 67, of Wold Gate, Bridlington, East Yorkshire, also stands trial after pleading not guilty to assisting an offender. This count relates to an allegation that he acted as the getaway driver.

Mr Khalil said after the raid the pair drove in Mr Thomas's Rover to a friend's house to change their clothes. "Gary Smith may have left without trousers, wearing only his boxer shorts on this cold winter night," he said. Afterwards the pair rang John Smith, who arrived to drive them away.

The men, who are from the traveller community and were living at the Fen Road travellers' site in Cambridgeshire, split the following weeks between Cambridge and sites in Yorkshire.

But Mr Khalil said: "They were unable to contain their desire to talk about their exploits so members of their community soon learned that they were the ones responsible for the killing.

"We say that they were both involved in the brutal battle with this gentleman and they either intended to kill him or cause him really serious harm."

Father-of-one Mr Thomas, originally from Wales, had lived alone since the death of his wife.

He had spent the previous day with his son, Richard, before chatting to a friend on the phone later that evening.Parker has already admitted robbery. John Smith has admitted another charge of assisting an offender by providing a false alibi.