Man guilty of murdering pensioner Freda Walker in search for £30k cash

A debt-ridden Romanian national has been found guilty of murdering 86-year-old Freda Walker as he searched her home for £30,000 in cash.

Vasile Culea, 34, attacked, gagged and "hog-tied" Freda Walker and her husband 88-year-old Kenneth, when he broke into their Derbyshire home on 14 January earlier this year, after hearing the Walkers had cash.

Freda and Ken had £30,000 in cash hidden around their home on Station Road, which they'd withdrawn to pay for home improvements.

Culea was £11,000 in debt and had been gambling in Shirebrook and Mansfield earlier that day, losing £280.

He had overheard two people in a Polish shop "talking about a wealthy house" that could be burgled in Langwith Junction.

He was spotted on CCTV scoping out the Walker's home in his car and on foot, before the attack.

Retired seamstress Freda Walker, who had her hand and feet tied, with a black bin liner and a pillowcase tied over her head, was found dead in the kitchen by emergency services the next day after neighbours raised concerns when they noticed milk on the doorstep hadn't been taken inside by the Walkers.

Romanian national 34-year-old Vasile Culea has been found guilty of murdering Freda Walker and attempting to murder Kenneth Walker.

Kenneth Walker, a former district councillor and alderman, was taken to hospital with life-threatening and 'frankly horrific' injuries which he survived.

He died eight months later in hospital in August, although his death was not connected to the attack.

Cule was found not guilty of attempting to murder Mr Walker, but was found guilty of causing him grievous bodily harm with intent.

Culea - who has admitted Mrs Walker's manslaughter earlier in the trial - had claimed he accidentally injured her after "slipping" on a spilt drink and stepping on her chest, after she "fell over".

He also claimed that he tied both victims up, intending to release them after being able to "search the house peacefully", but left the property in Station Road after getting "scared" when a car pulled up outside.

Culea's DNA was recovered from a baseball cap left on the dining room floor of the Walker's home and from a bloody fingerprint on a door handle.

The jury of 11 men and one woman unanimously convicted the 34-year-old afterjust two hours and 15 minutes.

Culea, of Grove Road in Church Warsop, Nottingham, will be sentenced at a later date.