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Man convicted of killing pensioner 20 years ago after DNA breakthrough

A man has been found guilty of killing an elderly woman 20 years ago after advances in DNA technology linked him to the crime.

Junior Young was convicted at the Old Bailey of the manslaughter of Hilda Lockert, who died after being robbed outside of her front door in Brixton, south London, in April 2001.

The 85-year-old was attacked by two men who searched her coat pockets, taking her bag of shopping, her bus pass and her wallet, which contained just £15.

The pensioner was left “shocked and very distressed” and “black and blue”, the court heard.

She was taken to hospital with a lump on her head, broken leg and pain in her hip and died two weeks later, jurors were told. Young was arrested in June 2001, but was released without charge.

The case remained unsolved for nearly 20 years before Young‘s DNA was identified on the handle of Mrs Lockert’s bag.

Young – who was 18 at the time of the offence and is now aged 39 – grew up in Brixton and was charged with her robbery and manslaughter, which he denied.

The court heard he had admitted two other robberies before and after Mrs Lockert was fatally attacked.

On 8 January, 1999 he snatched a phone from a woman in the street in Brixton and sold it for £20.

Then on 10 May, 2001 he targeted a 51-year-old woman as she got into her car in Angel Road, Brixton.

Giving evidence in his trial, Young denied robbing Mrs Lockert, saying he had held his “hands up” to everything he had done.

When quizzed on how his DNA got onto the victim’s bag, the defendant said there were a lot of robberies on the estate where he lived at the time.

Prosecutor Edward Brown QC said: “Do you want us to consider that somehow you got into contact with a robber and your robber carried your DNA to rob Mrs Lockert and somehow put your DNA on the handle?”

Young responded: “It’s a possibility.”

A jury deliberated for nearly 20 hours to find Young guilty of robbery and manslaughter by a majority decision of 10 to one.

Judge Nigel Lickley warned Young that he faced a lengthy jail term as he adjourned sentencing until 20 December.

Young made no reaction in the dock as he was remanded into custody.

Detective Chief Inspector Richard Leonard, from Scotland Yard, said: “Up until this attack, Hilda had been a very independent woman who continued to do all of her own shopping and housework.

“Due to her age and the fact she was alone, Young saw her as an easy target and had no regard for the injuries he might cause when he violently robbed her.

“Hilda’s sudden death left her family and those who knew her distraught but she has never been forgotten, thanks in part to them naming a street in Brixton after her.

“Similarly we in the Met have never stopped fighting for justice for Hilda, despite the passage of time. We are pleased that thanks to advances in science Young now faces a significant custodial sentence and we hope this acts as a reminder to others who think they have evaded justice that we will not give up in our quest to find them.”

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