Killer strangled pensioner and stole £13k for luxury purchases in huge spending spree

Xyaire Howard spent the money with his girlfriend Chelsea Grant at Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush and Wembley shops

Emily Pennink
Wednesday 13 December 2023 21:02 GMT
Susan Hawkey was forced to reveal her Pin code before she was murdered
Susan Hawkey was forced to reveal her Pin code before she was murdered (Met Police)

A killer who terrorised and strangled a vulnerable pensioner before going on a £13,000 spending spree with her savings has been jailed for at least 31 years.

Xyaire Howard, 24, bound and humiliated 71-year-old Susan Hawkey in her own home to extract her bank card PIN.

Having killed her to prevent her reporting what happened, he and girlfriend Chelsea Grant, 28, spent thousands of pounds of her money on luxury goods at Westfield shopping centre.

Some 20 days after she died, Ms Hawkey’s decomposing body was discovered under a duvet in the living room of her home in Neasden, north-west London.

Her hands had been taped and tied behind her back, her eyes taped shut and a ligature knotted around her neck.

The killing last September came after Howard and Grant had already repeatedly robbed Ms Hawkey.

Howard was convicted of murder, attempted robbery and two robberies.

Xyaire Howard, 24, bound and humiliated 71-year-old Susan Hawkey in her own home (Met Police)

Following a trial at the Old Bailey, Grant was cleared of murder but found guilty of three robberies against Ms Hawkey and one attempted robbery.

The defendants, of Press Road in Neasden, had admitted fraud by false representation in relation to their misuse of her bank card.

On Wednesday, Howard was jailed for life with a minimum term of 31 years and Grant was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Judge Judy Khan KC said the couple were motivated by their “greed and dishonesty”.

She said Howard had “terrorised” Ms Hawkey and subjected her to “humiliation and degradation” to get access to her money.

Judge Khan told him: “It was a calculated and callous course of action, a killing motivated by your greed.”

She accepted Grant was not present when Ms Hawkey was “stripped and degraded” by her boyfriend. But once she realised the vulnerable victim was dead, the defendant did nothing to report it, the judge said.

Chelsea Grant was jailed for a minimum 15 years (Met Police)

In a victim impact statement, Ms Hawkey’s family described her as a “proud woman” who led a reclusive life after the loss of her parents and job.

The defendants had identified her as an “ideal victim” and “easy pickings” last summer, prosecutor Annabel Darlow KC had said.

The court was told of the defendants’ “massive spending spree” at Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush and Wembley shops as they “burned through” Ms Hawkey’s money.

Over the course of three weeks, they made 146 transactions totalling some £13,000.

Luxury purchases included perfume, a new television, portable speakers, telephones, clothes, shoes, sunglasses, watches and handbags.

Some of the money was withdrawn in cash and both defendants sent money to St Vincent and the Grenadines using money transfer services.

The victim’s bank account went from a balance of more than £16,000 to just £3,434.03, jurors heard.

Ms Hawkey’s bank card was finally stopped last September 28 at the request of police and the defendants were arrested at a bus stop.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in