A homeless man who befriended a caring Gorleston woman in her 80s and moved into her house has been convicted of her murder.
Allan Scott, 42, c/o HMP Norwich, has been convicted after a jury took just over two hours to deliver a unanimous guilty verdict at Norwich Crown Court today (24 March 2023).
Scott had previously pleaded guilty to preventing lawful burial.
The court heard that Patricia was murdered at her home in Lowestoft Road, Gorleston, overnight on Saturday 24 July to Sunday 25 July 2021.
Scott had lodged with Patricia since August 2020 after they met while he was homeless and selling his paintings outside a shop on the High Street in Gorleston.
Neighbours had alerted police after Patricia turned up at their home in a distressed state at 9.21pm on Saturday 24 July. Scott had become abusive and argued with Patricia over some burned pasta. Police attended and Patricia stated she wanted Scott to leave the address. Officers spoke to Scott who was uncooperative but eventually agreed to leave the address to prevent a breach of the peace
Police secured the address and left at approximately 10pm leaving Patricia safe and well. Local CCTV later showed Scott walking back towards the address around 17 minutes after officers had left.
The following afternoon, on Sunday 25 July, Patricia’s daughter, Kathryn Holland called round to her mother’s address and was told by Scott that her mother had gone to church and would not be home until 530pm. Kathryn noticed what looked like blood on the door and called the police as she was concerned about her mother’s welfare.
Police attended again later in the day when Patricia had not returned home, and a high-risk missing person investigation was instigated.
Enquiries into Patricia’s whereabouts continued throughout the day, but she could not be located and the following day, Monday 26 July, Scott was arrested on suspicion of her murder.
The early investigation revealed a number of witnesses seeing a large bonfire in the rear garden of Patricia’s house overnight on Sunday 25 July. Concerned about this bonfire, investigators called a forensic anthropologist and archaeologist to the scene and a large number of bone fragments were recovered from the fire which were identified to be human remains. Furthermore a chain-linked bracelet and two rings, identified by Patricia’s family as likely to belong to her, had also been recovered from the debris.
A forensic biologist attended the home address and found blood spatter on a chair leg, front of the seat and to the underside of the chair in the hallway. The blood spatter was also found on a suitcase, cardboard box and books. The pattern of blood suggested the items had been moved and the scene manipulated.
There were additional indications of blood on the opposing wall of the hallway, floor of the room between hallway and kitchen, moving towards the garden and pond area. A green t-shirt with apparent blood staining was also found in the washing machine. Further blood was found outside the kitchen door and towards one of the garden sheds.
Body-worn footage from officers between Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon documented sections of the carpet in the hallway and living room had been cut. The remnants were later recovered at the bonfire site.
All the evidence pointed to items being rearranged, removed and destroyed in order to cover up the scene of the assault and murder.
Following today’s conviction, Senior Investigating Officer, Chris Burgess said: “This is a truly shocking crime where a vulnerable, well-liked elderly woman was murdered in her home by a man she had taken sympathy on and provided shelter to. It is clear that Patricia was murdered in her hallway, then Allan Scott has gone to extreme measures to attempt to hide the heinous crime he committed. The callous act of then burning her body on a fire in the back garden is inexcusable. Patricia was well-known in the community in Gorleston. She was a regular churchgoer and a familiar face to many at local cafes and the local food bank she attended.
“The extensive investigation, and help from experts, found key evidence that showed Scott had murdered Patricia and went to extreme lengths to conceal his actions. My thoughts are with Pat’s family and friends following this conviction, they have shown bravery and patience while we have collected the evidence in this investigation. I am grateful the jury have found Scott guilty of murder today.”
Allan Scott will be sentenced at a later date.
Watch the moment Allan Scott is arrested and CCTV footage that shows him going back to Pat’s home after he had been told to leave by police: Man convicted of Gorleston murder on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/811291730