A drug addict has been found guilty of the Christmas Day murder of a grieving widow whose wedding ring he sold to fund a drug habit.
Lucy Clews, from West Chadsmoor, Staffordshire, was found dead at her home on 29 December 2021 after being stabbed and strangled.
The mother of the recently widowed victim raised the alarm after she did not hear from her 39-year-old daughter over the festive period.
Thomas Grant, 28, of no fixed address, was convicted on Tuesday following a five-week trial at Stafford Crown Court.
Grant was found guilty of murder. Pic: Staffordshire Police
Grant, who was arrested on 30 December, had denied killing Miss Clews after the pair met on Christmas Eve, and she had offered him a place to stay as he had nowhere else to go, the court heard.
He claimed someone else was responsible for the murder, but refused to name them.
Police said Grant, a drug addict, then used Miss Clews’s home as a base for several days. His possessions were found in the house, as well as a knife which had both their DNA on it.
The prosecution argued Grant stole and sold Miss Clews’s jewellery – including her wedding ring and a necklace belonging to her late husband – in order to raise money for drugs, and also sold her mobile phone.
Following his conviction, Miss Clews’s family said the “sorrow and pain will never go away” but they take some comfort in the fact that “justice has been served”.
‘A vulnerable, grieving widow’
Detective Chief Inspector Cheryl Hannan 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.
“I’m glad the jury saw through Grant’s persistent lies and found him guilty of murder.”
Grant is due to be sentenced on Thursday.