Killer who burned landlady on bonfire 'had walked through gates of hell', says grieving daughter

Patricia Holland took pity on Allan Scott and welcomed him into her home, the court heard. Credit: Norfolk Police

A killer who burned the body of a vulnerable pensioner on a bonfire had arrived in her life through "the gates of hell" as she mourned her own sons' deaths, her family said.

Allan Scott, 42, murdered Patricia Holland and dumped the frail 83-year-old's body on a bonfire in her garden, after she asked him to leave her house Norfolk in July 2021.

Prosecutors said they could not say whether Mrs Holland was actually dead when she was put on the bonfire.

In an emotional witness statement she read in court, Mrs Holland's daughter Kathryn revealed how her 83-year-old mother was mourning the loss of her two sons, Nigel, who died in 2016, and Paul in 2019.

She described how her mother "no longer had the ability to judge people's intentions accurately" and was taken advantage of by a man she thought was her friend.

She added: "It seemed to me that beautiful gentle brother Paul dying had open the gates of hell and Allan Scott walked right on through."

Judge Alice Robinson said that Mrs Holland’s “personality changed” following a head injury in 2014 and she “became more extrovert and friendly”.

“Unfortunately, this also made her more vulnerable,” she said at Friday’s sentencing.

Allan Scott was jailed for life, with a minimum term of 35 years, at Norwich Crown Court. Credit: Norfolk Police

The good Samaritan had invited Mr Scott to move in with her after they met while he was homeless and selling his paintings outside a shop in Gorleston.

But her daughter said Mrs Holland was "highly vulnerable" and since Paul's death "we were both really struggling".

She described how her caring mother had seen Allan as a "friend" whereas he had viewed her as a "meal ticket".

During his trial the court heard a large number of bone fragments were recovered from the bonfire which were identified to be human remains, along with a bracelet and two rings, likely to belong to Mrs Holland.

Kathryn Holland described the trauma of the funeral, as she and her family laid her mother to rest.

"The two men who solemnly carried this tiny, tiny box with my mum's recovered fragments to be buried with my brother Paul.

"I couldn't bury my mother. My children couldn't bury their grandmother. I can't grieve for her.

"I will never know how my mum died.

"The questions about those final, painful, horrifying moments will never be properly answered."

Allan Scott was jailed for life with a minimum term of 35 years at Norwich Crown Court - one of the longest minimum sentences ever to be issued in the county.

Patricia Holland's home in Gorleston, Norfolk where she said Allan Scott could live. Credit: ITV News Anglia

In a statement after sentence, Scott's family extended their "deepest sympathies" to Mrs Holland's family and highlighted what they said were failings in support services.

"For decades we have attempted to seek help for our son and brother, and have repeatedly found obstructive bureaucracy, disinterest, and have been turned away."

The statement continued: "There is a serious problem in the mental health services, social services, and police, which continue to fail to intervene when needed - even when alerted - and are regularly not based in understanding, compassion, or prevention."

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