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Whole life sentence for Worksop murderer who bludgeoned elderly neighbour to death

A convicted killer who struck again by bludgeoning his elderly neighbour to death while out on life licence, has been given a whole life sentence for her murder.

Lawrence Bierton, 63, attacked 73-year-old Pauline Quinn with a wooden coffee table in her own home after gaining entry through the back door.

The mother-of-three, who lived alone with her dog, was left with catastrophic head injuries after the attack inside her Nottinghamshire bungalow on 9 November 2021.

Bierton had moved in next door to Ms Quinn in Rayton Spur, Worksop which served mainly as a retirement community in November 2020. He had previously been convicted of murdering two elderly sisters in 1996 and was released from prison on life licence at the time of this offence.

He was tried for murder and was found guilty at Nottingham Crown Court, following a nine-day trial. He had previously pleaded guilty to one count of theft in relation to Mrs Quinn’s car. He was today, Wednesday 20 December, given a whole life order, meaning he will spend the rest of his life in prison.

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Mrs Quinn, who struggled with the effects of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and had a back problem that left her using a walking stick, called for help by pulling a lifeline alarm cord fitted inside her home during the attack around 4.20pm.

She was discovered dead in her living room when ambulance staff and firefighters arrived. A post-mortem examination found that Mrs Quinn had suffered 29 separate injuries.

Bierton was circulated as wanted the day after the murder. He was arrested in Sheffield after his family informed the police of his whereabouts.

Ann Barrett, from the CPS, said: “This was a violent and unprovoked attack on an innocent elderly lady at the hands of her neighbour. She should have been safe in her own home – but Lawrence Bierton beat her to death in her front room.

“Although Bierton admitted killing Mrs Quinn, he claimed that his alcohol dependency syndrome meant his ability to make rational judgements or exercise self-control was impaired. The prosecution case was able to show that, on the contrary, he was very much in control and aware of his actions. The jury were shown CCTV footage of Bierton’s calm and collected movements in driving away from the scene and disposing of the murder weapon.

“The loss of Pauline Quinn has shocked and impacted many people in the community. I hope today’s sentence and the knowledge that Bierton will never be released from prison provides some sense of comfort to her family and friends, as well as all those affected. Our thoughts remain with them at this time.”

Building the case

Bierton claimed that he had killed Mrs Quinn because his ability to control his actions was impaired by his dependency on alcohol. But the prosecution was able to present evidence that clearly showed the defendant’s calm and calculated actions in driving away from the scene with the stolen keys of his victim’s Renault Clio vehicle.

Footage also captured Bierton stopping at a relative’s house nearby, where he smoked a cigarette, acknowledged the relative’s dog, and appeared sober and collected, despite the violent attack he had just committed.

He was later spotted walking along a road with a plastic bag believed to hold the remnants of the wooden coffee table that had been used as the murder weapon. Pieces of wood from the table were found in a nearby canal.

 A police search of Bierton in custody uncovered the keys to Mrs Quinn’s back door in his trouser pocket.

Witness testimony from a neighbour also revealed that Mrs Quinn had been left feeling intimidated by Bierton who had appeared on her doorstep asking for money about a month before her death.

Bierton’s previous convictions for murder were a significant piece of evidence to demonstrate to the jury that this sort of behaviour was not out of character. In order for a jury to consider this sort of evidence, that is not directly about a defendant’s actions leading to the offence itself, the CPS must make an application to the court known as a bad character application. This was argued before the trial and the court led that it was necessary for the jury to understand the context of Bierton’s previous offending. The CPS also made this pattern of behaviour clear to the court so it could be considered as part of the sentence.

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