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EDITIONS
Monday, 17 June, 2002, 18:32 GMT 19:32 UK
Murder of paedophile suspect denied
George Crawford.
Bludgeoned to death: Partially-sighted George Crawford
A partially-sighted pensioner was bludgeoned to death just days before he had been due to stand trial on charges of child abuse, a court heard on Monday.

George Crawford, 68, died from multiple head and neck injuries after the attack on 21 December 2001.

He had been beaten to death with two ornamental lamps.

His wife, Brenda, found his body slumped against the living room door at their bungalow in Kirkholt, Rochdale, Manchester Crown Court heard.


She could see him on his back, covered in blood, the room ransacked

Roderick Carus, prosecuting
Martin Goldrick, 41, of Rhodes Crescent, Kirkholt, denies murder.

Mr Goldrick was arrested after scientists discovered his handprint in blood at Mr Crawford's home, Roderick Carus QC, prosecuting, told the court.

He said that there was a double motive for the killing - robbery and a desire to avenge the fact that Mr Crawford had been charged with indecency offences.

Mr Carus said Mr Goldrick had been a regular visitor and from time to time asked Mr Crawford for money, which he was often given.

"There can be no doubt that the defendant was well aware of the charges outstanding against George Crawford - he admitted that was the case," Mr Carus said.

"He said he had been asked by Mr Crawford to go and assault or beat up one of those who had brought charges against him."

Indecency charges

The prosecution alleges that Mr Goldrick told a fellow remand prisoner that Mr Crawford had deserved to die and given the chance, he would have done it again.

The court heard that the dead man had become a recluse after charges of indecency towards young boys in the late 1970s and 1980s had been brought in 2000.

He had been due in court in January this year on 10 counts of abuse involving four boys. He was expected to deny all charges.

The father-of-one had suffered two heart attacks, was going increasingly blind and relied on his guide dog.

Mr Carus told the jury that on the night of the attack Mrs Crawford had been visiting her mother.

Mobile missing

"When she returned home she discovered that the front door she had left locked was unlocked - she thought nothing of it.

"She tried the living room door - she encountered an obstruction which prevented her from opening the door fully.

"It was the body of her husband, she could see him on his back, covered in blood, the room ransacked, he dead."

A black wallet, blue mobile phone and some tobacco were missing.

The trial was adjourned until Tuesday.

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