Teenage murderer preyed on old people

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A TEENAGER who killed an 88-year-old woman by stamping on her so savagely that he left the imprint of his shoe on her face was also responsible for a string of violent attacks on frail pensioners, the Old Bailey was told yesterday.

After the jury had convicted Francis Casey of murdering Lillian Notley and beating her sister Phoebe, 85, they were told that he had robbed and attacked at least 60 people, mostly pensioners, including 20 when he was on the run from social workers. 'He has preyed on the elderly since he was 12 years old,' David Calvert-Smith, for the prosecution, said.

Over 20 days last November, beginning soon after his release from Feltham young offenders' institution in east London and ending in the murder of Miss Notley in Camden Town, north London, Casey attacked 20 people aged between 62 and 91. Some were beaten, others indecently assaulted. All were terrified and four have since died. Police believe their ordeal at Casey's hands hastened their deaths.

Among his earlier offences, the court was told, was a robbery and indecent assault on an 84-year-old woman in her home. After the assault, she fled to the attic and hid in a wardrobe. Casey pushed it over and piled furniture on top so she could not escape.

Detective Sergeant Keith Manktelow said: 'He has ruined numerous lives. Whole families have been affected, not just the victims. The survivors are now frightened to open their doors. They barricade themselves in their homes and are afraid to go to bed. I have never seen such evil in any man, young or old. There are no words to describe the person who did this sort of thing.'

Casey, who was 18 yesterday, showed no remorse for his crimes and smirked as police put details to him. He even claimed to have Aids, forcing his victims into an agonising wait until tests revealed the claim to be a lie.

Casey, an illiterate traveller who lived on the Wood Green caravan site, north London, battered the Notley sisters 'beyond recognition' in what police describe as the worst case they have come across. The home they had shared for 25 years was ransacked.

Police believe his November raids netted more than pounds 10,000 but they cannot be sure, as his confused victims did not know how much he took. He spent pounds 5,000 on a car and bought drugs.

The day he attacked the Notley sisters he had been in court after being arrested burgling a house, but he gave a false name and claimed to be 15. Police entrusted him to Haringey social workers but he escaped from their car still wearing plimsolls and overalls provided by police.

Casey showed no emotion as the jury, reduced to 11 after a man collapsed during medical evidence about Miss Notley's injuries, returned their unanimous murder verdict. They also convicted him of assaulting Phoebe and attacking both sisters with intent to rob them.

He will be sentenced later.