Lodger jailed for burning Norfolk pensioner's body on bonfire 'while she may have been alive'

  • The moment Allan Scott was arrested by police was captured on body-worn camera

A homeless man has been jailed for murdering and burning the body of a frail 83-year-old woman who had taken him into her home.

Allan Scott, 42, killed Patricia Holland after she asked him to leave her house in Gorleston-on-Sea, Norfolk in July 2021.

He then dumped the body of the pensioner, who used a frame to walk, on a bonfire in her back garden.

Prosecutors said it had not been possible to determine whether Mrs Holland was actually dead when she was put on the bonfire.

On Friday, Scott was jailed for life with a minimum term of 35 years at Norwich Crown Court.

The court heard that Mrs Holland had removed Scott's right to occupancy of her home in the final draft of her will, because he had become increasingly drunk and violent.

Scott had lodged with Mrs Holland since August 2020 after they met while he was homeless and selling his paintings outside a shop on the High Street in Gorleston.

Police said they were called to Mrs Holland's home after she turned up at her neighbours in a "distressed state" at 9.20pm on Saturday, 24 July.

Scott had become abusive towards the pensioner and she told police she wanted him to leave the address.

CCTV showing Allan Scott walking back towards Pat Holland's home on the evening she died. Credit: Norfolk Police

Scott eventually agreed to leave and police left at about 10pm, but CCTV showed he returned to the address 17 minutes later.

The following day, Mrs Holland's daughter went to the address and noticed what looked like blood on the door. Police were called and a missing person investigation began, before Scott was arrested on suspicion of murder.

During his trial the court heard a large number of bone fragments were recovered from the bonfire which were identified to be human remains.

A chain-linked bracelet and two rings, identified by her family as likely to belong to Mrs Holland were also recovered from the debris.

Police said Pat Holland was a 'well-liked' woman who had been murdered by someone she had taken sympathy on. Credit: Family photo

Her family were only left with small fragments of bones to bury, the court heard.

Mr Scott was found guilty of murder and previously admitted preventing lawful burial.

Det Ch Insp Chris Burgess described it as a "truly shocking crime".

"It is difficult to describe how heinous the crime is. What Allan Scott did to Patricia Holland was horrific.

"She was an exceptional woman, she was well-liked in the community, she was outstanding woman, she had a good heart.

"He [Scott] comes across to me as a calculating and manipulative person only interested in himself.

"He saw Patricia as a meal ticket. He manipulated her, he used her and ultimately horrifically killed her."

In a statement after the sentencing, Scott's family sent their "deepest sympathies" to Mrs Holland's relatives, and highlighted how they believed he had been failed by both police and 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."

They added: "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.

“Though Allan must take responsibility for the terrible facts laid out in this case, we feel several missed opportunities by these services made a contribution to the now tragic reality facing Ms Holland’s family.

“Our sadness at this, however, will not compare to that of a family continuing to grieve the loss of a loved one.

“Patricia and those she leaves behind remain foremost in our thoughts.”

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