Greg Irvin, who scoured the internet to search words ‘old lady killed but killer never found’ two days before taking the life of 74 year old Anne James in the most savage fashion, stood stock still in the dock at Birmingham Crown Court as Mrs Justice Nerys Jefford told him: “This was a particularly callous and cruel attack which took the heart from your family.
“Your reaction was cold and calculating as you went about covering your tracks and carried on as if nothing had happened.
"This has had an unimaginable effect on your family who have had to listen to the horror of the injuries knowing it was done by one of their own.”
Judge continued: “The murder was done for gain, motivated by design and intention to get money from Anne James.
“She was a wonderful person, an amazing lady, a woman of humanity, compassion and generosity.
“She had been nothing but generous with you and not just in spirit. She has been described as the ‘family bank’.”
Irvin, who was desperate to pay off a £35,000 gambling debt and had a £100-a-week cocaine habit, had been showered with thousands of pounds by woman he described as the ‘perfect grandma’.
Mrs James, whose husband Jim was in hospital at the time, was preparing soup for herself at home in Doveridge Place, Sandwell Street, Walsall Wood after a shopping trip when he launched the savage stabbing, probably from behind the victim while armed with her bread knife at lunch time on February 28.
Miss Rachel Brand QC prosecuting said: “The killer was somebody she trusted implicitly and who had always been welcomed into her home throughout his life.”
He claimed to remember nothing of the attack but CCTV showed him parking his blue Mini nearby and walking to the address.
DNA and blood swabs taken from the car and his jacket also linked him to the crime.
Irvin from Bilboe Road, Bradley denied murder but was convicted after a 10-day trial.
Detective Inspector Harry Harrison, who led the police investigation, said: "This was a despicable crime by a compulsive liar who shunned and manipulated the love and support offered by his family."
The murderer’s uncle Andrew James said: “I am numb and paralysed by grief and pain.
"She had so much to live for. I feel like he has ripped out my heart and stamped on it.
"She was the proverbial lamb to the slaughter.
"She died terrified and alone with an evil grandson.
"She would have been frozen with fear.”
The defendant’s older brother Matthew said: “She wasn’t just a grandmother. She was like a second mother."