Sunday 25 August 2019

Serial burglar admits killing woman (84) as he robbed her of €67 in her own home after asking for water

Johnny Brazil, 27, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Joyce Burgess
Johnny Brazil, 27, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Joyce Burgess
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Henry Vaughan

A SERIAL burglar has admitted killing an 84-year-old woman as he robbed her of £60 (€67) in her in her own home after asking for a glass of water.

Johnny Brazil, 27, pleaded guilty at Guildford Crown Court to the manslaughter of Joyce Burgess.

The pensioner died in hospital three days after suffering arm, chest and face injuries when her handbag containing the cash was stolen in the attack in Woking, Surrey, at around 5.50pm on July 7 last year.

Detective Constable Alexis Batty, from Surrey Police, said Brazil had been prowling around the area of Loop Road, looking for open doors and windows.

"The houses that were targeted were targeted because of the age of the occupants. I think that shows the type of person Johnny Brazil is," she said outside court.

"He has been seen by Ms Burgess, he asked for a glass of water and it was in her good nature to offer to help.

"At some point he has made a grab for her handbag. There was a struggle, a fight, which resulted in significant injuries to her arms."

A post-mortem examination revealed she died of coronary and valvular heart disease, bronchial pneumonia and emphysema.

Brazil was arrested in Leeds after a manhunt.

He appeared in the dock on Friday, wearing a blue T-shirt with black stripes, and pleaded guilty to robbing and killing Ms Burgess.

He previously admitted a further charge of robbery, three counts of burglary, attempted burglary, possessing a lock knife and damaging property.

Prosecutor Hugh Forgan said Brazil committed a "pattern of burglaries with particularly vulnerable victims".

DC Batty said Brazil targeted elderly people as old as 96 during his burglary and robbery spree and has shown "little to no remorse" despite admitting his crimes.

"We believe he's an opportunistic thief," she said. "It's tragic his path crossed with Ms Burgess in her home, which has resulted in him pleading guilty to her manslaughter and robbery.

"It's sad to think that what was taken was of such small value - cash to the sum of around £60.

"I would hope now he will have to deal with the consequences."

Judge Jonathan Black adjourned sentencing to August 9 for reports to be prepared to assess Brazil's dangerousness.

Brazil was originally charged with causing grievous bodily harm over the attack on Ms Burgess, but police pushed for the more serious charge.

DC Batty added: "I do feel this guilty plea will give some closure to the family and wider public that Mr Brazil has accepted some responsibility for what he did that day."

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