A man who killed his neighbour in Ilford and stole her bank card has been sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum of 20 years in jail.

Jamie Cook, 31 (11.09.91) of Asthall Gardens, Ilford, was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Thursday, 23 March, after he pleaded guilty to murdering 67-year-old Hilary Round.

Cook also admitted two charges of fraud.

Cook was sentenced to a minimum jail term of 20 years and 205 days (21 years minus 160 days spent on remand].

The court heard an investigation was launched after police were called at 13:29hrs on 12 October following concerns for the welfare of a resident at an address in De Vere Gardens, Ilford.

Hilary’s body was found at the address after police forced entry.

Cook was arrested a short time later at an address in Horns Road, Ilford, where Hilary’s bank card was found.

Police had been called to De Vere Gardens after Cook had rung his mother, who lived in the flat below Hilary, and told her that he had killed her neighbour “three or four days ago”.

A post mortem established the cause of death as compression to the neck.

Homicide detectives analysed CCTV and identified Cook using Hilary’s bank card in supermarkets and fast food outlets on 6 and 7 October.

A dressing gown cord found in his mother’s flat was identified as the suspected murder weapon.

Cook was charged with murder on 14 October and pleaded guilty at Snaresbrook Crown Court on 16 March.

Detective Chief Inspector Jo Yorke, the officer in the case, said: “Jamie Cook launched a completely unprovoked attack on a woman in her own home.

“The callous nature of the murder was compounded by the fact he stole a bank card he then used to buy food. He also failed to raise the alarm until almost a week after Hilary Round had died.”

In a victim impact statement, Louise Moseley, Hilary’s sister, said she was “very kind, caring, friendly, helpful and generous.”

She said: “She saw the best in people. She had a Christian faith and very much enjoyed singing in the Seven Kings Gospel Choir. She also loved gardening and would help our mother and her neighbours with their gardens. She wanted to make the world a better place.”

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