A civil servant who brutally killed his elderly neighbour in Mansfield in 2007 has been jailed for at least 27 years after being found guilty at a re-trial.
Peter Kenneth Smith was jailed for life after being unanimously convicted of murdering 71-year-old widow Hilda Owen following a seven-week hearing at Nottingham Crown Court.
Smith, who used a claw hammer and screwdriver to kill Mrs Owen at her home in Skegby, near Mansfield, was originally convicted of murder in December 2008 but was granted a re-trial two years ago after appealing against his conviction.
During the retrial, the prosecution alleged that Smith, now aged 48, had plotted to inherit his next-door neighbour's house in West Hill, Skegby.
In a statement issued by Nottinghamshire Police after today's verdict, Mrs Owen's family said:
Thanking the police and the CPS for their determination to ensure the case against Smith remained as strong as it was in 2008, the family added:
Detective Superintendent Paul Cottee, of Nottinghamshire Police, also issued a statement at the conclusion of the retrial. He said:
A post-mortem examination found that Mrs Owen died from severe head injuries caused by a blunt instrument and a screwdriver, but her body also showed signs of strangulation.
Smith's original trial heard that days before the murder he created a will in which Mrs Owen left her estate to him.
Jurors were also told that Smith, who was employed by the Department for Work
and Pensions, had debts of around £35,000.