A homeless man found guilty of murdering an elderly woman who took him in, before he burnt her body on a bonfire in her garden, has been jailed for life.
Patricia Holland, 83, met 42-year-old Allan Scott while he was selling his paintings on the street in Gorleston in Norfolk, Norwich Crown Court was told.
Scott had lodged with the pensioner at her home in the town, but he killed her and then burnt her body in the garden after she asked him to leave due to his drunken and aggressive behaviour.
Scott, who was found guilty at an earlier trial of murdering Mrs Holland on July 24 2021 and admitted to preventing a lawful burial, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 35 years.
Mrs Holland’s daughter Kathryn Holland said in a victim impact statement that following a fall in 2014, Mrs Holland ‘no longer had the ability to judge people’s intentions accurately’.
Allan Scott, 42, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 35 years after he was found guilty at an earlier trial of murdering Mrs Holland and admitted to preventing a lawful burial
‘She thought Allan Scott was her friend,’ she said.
‘She couldn’t see that all she was to him was, in his words, her meal ticket.’
She said she could see that Scott was abusing her mother but she ‘couldn’t stop it from happening’, and had tried in vain to raise a safeguarding case.
‘My mum really cared for Allan Scott,’ she said.
‘She felt so sorry for him.
‘She thought life hadn’t been fair to him.
‘She thought he was talented and misunderstood and just needed a chance.’
Judge Alice Robinson said that Mrs Holland’s ‘personality changed’ following a head injury in 2014 and she ‘became more extrovert and friendly’.
‘Unfortunately, this also made her more vulnerable,’ she said at Friday’s sentencing.
Patricia Holland, 83, met 42-year-old Allan Scott while he was selling his paintings on the street in Gorleston in Norfolk
The judge said that Scott ‘repaid (Mrs Holland’s) generosity with drunken anger, aggression and violence’.
‘She had formed a settled intention to get you to leave and you had no intention of going,’ she said.
The judge said Scott had torn up an eviction notice Mrs Holland had given him.
On the night of July 24, the judge said Scott had thrown a pan of pasta around the kitchen and was made to leave or face arrest, but CCTV footage showed he returned half-an-hour later.
The judge said that Mrs Holland ‘probably let you (Scott) in’ but that only he knew what had happened afterwards.
She said that a fire was going by 3.20am and kept going until midday on July 25, with Scott using wood from the wood store, bits of fence and piano keys to fuel it.
He had raked over what was left, the judge said, and went to buy gin and tonic from a local shop using Mrs Holland’s bank card in the hours after her death.
Prosecutors said Scott tried to make it look like Mrs Holland had gone missing as, according to the terms of her will, he would have been liable for eviction if she had died.
Allan Scott,42, had lodged with the pensioner at her home in the town, but he killed her and then burnt her body in the garden after she asked him to leave her home
The judge told him: ‘I do not consider you showed a shred of remorse for what you did.’
Scott showed no visible reaction as he was led to the cells.
Speaking in mitigation, Karim Khalil KC said Scott had ‘mental health difficulties’.
In a statement, Scott’s family said after Friday’s hearing: ‘We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the family of Patricia Holland, and cannot imagine the pain the last nearly two years have brought them.
‘We also wish to express our deep pain and disappointment at the failures in support and intervention from support services Allan and the family attempted to reach out to throughout his life.
‘For decades we have attempted to seek help for our son and brother, and have repeatedly found obstructive bureaucracy, disinterest, and have been turned away.’
The statement continued: ‘There is a serious problem in the mental health services, social services, and police, which continue to fail to intervene when needed – even when alerted – and are regularly not based in understanding, compassion, or prevention.
‘Though Allan must take responsibility for the terrible facts laid out in this case, we feel several missed opportunities by these services made a contribution to the now tragic reality facing Ms Holland’s family.
‘Our sadness at this, however, will not compare to that of a family continuing to grieve the loss of a loved one.
‘Patricia and those she leaves behind remain foremost in our thoughts.’