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Murderer who killed woman on Christmas Day after she invited him into her home gets life sentence

A callous killer who murdered a vulnerable woman in her own home on Christmas Day after she offered him shelter has been jailed for life, having refused to face the judge who sentenced him.

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Thomas Grant refused to leave his cell to be sentenced. Photo: Staffordshire Police

Thomas Grant, 28, refused to leave his prison cell today to face justice for the vicious murder of Lucy Clews, which he carried out in her home on Bath Road, West Chadsmoor, on December 25, 2021. Her body was found four days later.

The criminal repeatedly stabbed and strangled Ms Clews for reasons known only to him, then left her dead or dying at the foot of her bed, taking her wedding ring which he would later try to sell for drugs - all only a day after he got out of prison and met the unfortunate victim by chance.

He met her at a drugs den in Hednesford and befriended her while she was vulnerable - bereaved only days earlier, she was suffering from pneumonia and had discharged herself from hospital for the funeral of her husband Stephen on December 21.

She offered Grant shelter and helped feed his addiction, and in return he violently murdered her in her own home and robbed her family of their "beautiful golden-haired baby girl", selling her belongings to feed his drug addiction.

Grant, of HMP Dovegate, was found guilty of murdering Ms Clews on August 8 this year having repeatedly denied responsibility for his actions.

Lucy Clews. Photo: Staffordshire Police

He was due to be sentenced at Stafford Crown Court today, but refused to leave his cell to get on a prison transport bus or to give a reason for why he would not attend.

The sentencing hearing went ahead today in his absence.

Prosecutor Jane Osborne KC told the court that Grant had been released from HMP Dovegate on licence on December 24, halfway through a sentence he was serving for shoplifting.