Reece Dempster

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Met Police

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Reece Dempster pleaded guilty three days into his trial at the Old Bailey

A man who sexually assaulted and killed an 89-year-old widow in her home has received a life sentence with a minimum prison term of 34 years.

Reece Dempster, 23, from Haringey, had smoked crack before breaking into Dorothy Woolmer’s house.

Mrs Woolmer, known as Dot, was found dead at her home in Waltheof Gardens in Tottenham, north London, on 5 August.

At the Old Bailey, Judge Mr Justice Edis said Dempster “seemed to have killed her for pleasure”.

The judge appeared emotional as he praised Mrs Woolmer’s family for their dignity in sitting through proceedings.

He told Dempster that the murder had involved “sexual or sadistic conduct”.

“[Mrs Woolmer] was tiny and defenceless and you knew that.

“Because of you, she died an unimaginably dreadful death. You are a dangerous man.”

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Met Police

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Dorothy Woolmer was described as “a wonderful woman who was full of life”

The court heard Mrs Woolmer, who had been widowed in 2017 after 64 years of marriage, died as the result of “multiple blunt trauma injuries”.

Dempster attacked her both sexually and physically, using a truncheon, before stealing two bottles of alcohol and her purse.

Jurors were told that Dempster is 6ft 3in (190cm) tall, while Ms Woolmer was 4ft 11in (150cm) tall and weighed less than eight stone (51kg).

Hours after the attack, he confessed to a friend: “I only got a hundred quid – it wasn’t even worth it.”

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Police discovered Dorothy Woolmer’s body at her home in Tottenham

Dempster had previously admitted manslaughter, but initially denied murder and rape.

He changed his plea, admitting murder and two counts of sexual assault, on the third day of his trial.

Dempster had claimed that he did not remember the attack.

The prosecution said Dempster had been “casing” the house for several days and knew it was occupied by a vulnerable older person.

“The overwhelming prosecution evidence against him meant that he admitted the truth, that his vile actions were deliberate and planned,” said Kristen Katsouris, from the Crown Prosecution Service.

‘The best sister’

Mrs Woolmer’s bloodied body was found, semi-naked, in her bed, by her sister and a close friend who had come over to check on her.

“This is the most horrific thing we have all had to go through,” the victim’s sister, Lilian Richardson, said.

Mrs Richardson said Dempster “deserves to spend the rest of his life locked away” and “feeling powerless, like he made Dot feel that night”.

“She was the best big sister anyone could have ever asked for,” she added.

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Metropolitan Police

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Reece Dempster was caught on CCTV with two bottles of alcohol stolen from Dorothy Woolmer’s home

Dempster was raised by his grandmother, but became acquainted with his drug-addict father, Mark Vaughan, in later years.

His father then encouraged him to commit crime to feed their drug habits.

Prosecutor Anthony Orchard QC said Dempster had two previous convictions for burglary in the area, and had breached a suspended sentence at the time of the killing.

However, he was not on a curfew or a tag at the time, he said.

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