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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 March 2008, 17:19 GMT
Life for pregnant woman's killer
Thomas Hughes
Thomas Hughes was a loner who lived with his mother

A man who shot dead a pregnant woman in a "ruthless execution" after a long-running dispute between neighbours has been jailed for life.

Thomas Hughes, 40, of Stonells Road in Battersea, south-west London, shot Krystal Hart, 22, twice in the head at her flat in Belleville Road, Battersea.

Hughes was said to have killed Miss Hart last April in revenge for the row.

Ordering Hughes to serve at least 30 years, Old Bailey judge Anthony Morris said it was "a truly evil act".

'Neighbour from hell'

On Thursday Hughes was found guilty of murder and possessing a firearm with intent on Good Friday last year.

Aftab Jafferjee, prosecuting, said: "The killing took place against a background of a long-running and ugly neighbour dispute that had been festering for some months.

"It can only be described as an execution."

Miss Hart, who was two months pregnant when killed, had lived in her housing association flat for about a year but soon after moving in she fell out with her downstairs "neighbour from hell", Angie Brewer, 53, the court heard.

Krystal Hart

Jurors heard Hughes, a loner who lived in a nearby dilapidated house with his 81-year-old, wheelchair-bound mother, was besotted with Miss Brewer.

He carried out the killing hours after Miss Hart's fiance, David Siveter, had noted down his car registration during a row in the front garden with Miss Brewer.

Judge Anthony Morris said: "It was a ruthless execution and a truly evil act.

"You were devoted to Angie Brewer and would do anything you could to ingratiate yourself to her.

"You have a chilling lack of remorse for what you did.

"You told Angela Brewer after the shooting that you did it for her. You sent her a text message saying 'no one should have hurt you like that'.

CCTV footage

"It is a sign of your warped mentality that you took the rantings of that demented woman seriously...and thought you would curry favour with her by carrying out those threats yourself."

The court heard there was ongoing county court action between the two women who had both installed CCTV to gather evidence against each other.

After the row, Brewer called the police to complain and then telephoned Hughes, who later returned with a gun.

The court heard that he was looking for Mr Siveter and when told he was not home banged at the door and demanded Miss Hart open it, calling out: "Come out bitch."

Miss Brewer, who could be heard pleading "No" on CCTV footage, became hysterical as shots were fired, the court was told.

Miss Hart, died instantly when she was shot through the head. A second bullet was fired into her temple after she collapsed into her doorway.

During the trial jurors were shown the CCTV, in which the sound of two gunshots could be heard and Hughes could be seen hurrying away.

After the sentencing Eve Warren, a family friend, read out a witness impact statement on behalf of Miss Hart's mother, Deborah Penfold.

"I feel that justice has been done but for me and my family the grief is just beginning," she said.

"We have lost a daughter and a friend as well as the promise of a first grandchild.

"I have a mother's memory's of Krystal, her humour, her kindness and her great sense of fun."

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