Man jailed for murdering Lucy Clews in home after offering him place to stay on Christmas Day

  • Hollie Goodall reports

A man who "brutally" murdered a grieving widow at her home on Christmas Day and sold her wedding ring to fund a drug habit has been jailed.

Lucy Clews, aged 39, from West Chadsmoor, was found dead at her home in Cannock on 29 December 2021, after her mother raised concerns about not hearing from her over the festive period.

Thomas Grant, 28, of no fixed address, had denied killing Miss Clews at her property, claiming someone else was responsible but refused to tell the court who.

He was found guilty of murder by a jury following a five-week trial at Stafford Crown Court on August 8.

Today, he was jailed for a minimum of 25 years and seven months.

The court heard how Grant met recently-widowed Lucy on Christmas Eve. She offered him a place to stay over Christmas as he had nowhere else to go.

Grant, a drug addict, then used Lucy’s home as a base, spending several days visiting people he knew, to persuade them to give him money to fuel his habit.

It was the prosecution’s case that Grant stole and sold Lucy’s jewellery – including her wedding ring and a necklace belonging to her late husband – in order to raise money for drugs. He also sold Lucy’s mobile phone.

He was then spotted on CCTV on Christmas Day having left the scene of the murder.

When he was arrested in Hednesford on 30 December 2021, Grant gave a false name to officers and said he didn’t have any tattoos, before officers asked him to roll up his sleeves.

His possessions were found at her home. A knife was found at the scene which contained both Lucy’s and Grant’s DNA.

A post-mortem examination revealed that Lucy sustained multiple ‘severe’ stab wounds and had been strangled prior to her death.

Grant later made admissions to officers while in custody awaiting trial, though he later retracted these, claiming that officers had ‘lied’ about what he had said.

Lucy Clews was found dead on 29 December 2021, after her mother raised concerns about not hearing from her over the festive period. Credit: Staffordshire Police

In a statement, Lucy’s family has previously said: "We cannot express in words the hurt we feel in losing Lucy.

"We will never know what the future would have held for her.

"The sorrow and pain will never go away, but it is some comfort to us to know that justice has been served.”

Lucy’s mum, Linda said: "I will always love Lucy, my daughter and my memories of her will live on. I always had her in my mind, no matter where she was."

Lucy’s grandmother, Elizabeth said: "I love her and will always love her, forever and always."

Senior Investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Cheryl Hannan, of the force’s major and organised crime department, said: "Lucy was a vulnerable, grieving widow, who invited Grant to stay with her over Christmas to have some company.

"Grant repaid that kindness by brutally killing her, stealing her phone and some of her most valued possessions – her wedding ring and two necklaces, one of which belonged to her husband.

"Grant denied killing Lucy when interviewed but later admitted he had done so, when he got angry with officers while on remand.

"I’m glad the jury saw through Grant’s persistent lies and found him guilty of murder.

"Though the verdict won’t bring Lucy back, I hope it provides some comfort to her family who continue to grieve her loss.

"Our thoughts and sympathies remain with Lucy’s family and friends at this time."

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