Drug addict mother of three Charlotte Frazier-Doody was today starting at least 20 years behind bars for the murder of Second World War veteran Bill Davis, from Willenhall.
The great-grandfather, who rose from a naval rating to petty officer and won eight medals before returning from the conflict without a scratch, was beaten to death in the back living room of his home days after his 92nd birthday.
Cash-strapped drug addict Frazier-Doody had lived opposite him in Hobley Street, Willenhall for more than three years after moving back to live with ex-husband Mick Doody, a builder, and two of their children following a reconciliation.
The 36-year-old smoked heroin before attacking frail Mr Davis at around 4pm on April 1. The victim, who had lived alone since the death of his wife and walked with the aid of a stick or walking frame, was pushed to the floor and clubbed at least four times on the face and head with a heavy weapon, probably the saucepan he used to cook his lunch.
Mr Davis was close to death when he was found two hours later by neighbours with a key to the house who had become concerned for his safety. Medics were unable to save him and he was certified dead at the scene shortly after 7pm.
Frazier-Doody fled back to her home after the attack and disposed of both the murder weapon and her bloodstained clothing, neither of which have been found.
She stood stony-faced in the dock at Wolverhampton Crown Court as the jury returned their unanimous guilty verdict after deliberating for four hours and 50 minutes following a two-week trial. She had consistently denied the crime.
Judge John Warner, who jailed her for life and ordered that she must serve at least 20 years before being considered for parole, said: “Only two people know the true circumstances of what happened and one of those is no longer living. You have not provided any information. He was savagely beaten to death by you using some sort of substantial object. The injuries to the hands of Mr Davis showed how he tried to protect himself. He was desperately grabbing your hair but he was no match for you and whatever weapon you were using.
“The harrowing way the life of Mr Davis was ended deeply shocked the local community and has had a profound effect on his family. The motive will remain a mystery unless you decide at some stage to say what happened and why. The crime was probably committed for gain but I cannot be certain. However, a distinctive feature was the ferocity and manner of the attack on a vulnerable old gentleman in his own home.”
Speaking after the verdict, Tom Davis, the 56-year-old son of Frazier-Doody’s victim, said: “I am overjoyed with the result.
“I have never hated anybody in my life but what she did was despicable. She is scum who had been tapping him up for money for some time.”
Det Sgt Rob Bastin, from West Midlands Police, said: “It is difficult to put into words how evil and calculating this woman has been. I am not completely sure exactly what her motive was, however I feel you don’t have to look far from her addiction and desperation for money to pay for her drugs.
“How sad that Mr Davis fought for many years to ensure the safety of every person in this country and died in his own home, a place where he should have felt safe.”
Martin Lindop, from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Forensic evidence and painstaking examination of hours of CCTV footage by West Midlands Police pointed to Frazier-Doody as the person who had killed Mr Davis.”
By John Scott