Page last updated at 13:45 GMT, Monday, 15 June 2009 14:45 UK

Escaped man 'strangled pensioner'

An escaped prisoner strangled a 73-year-old Norfolk man, contacted the police twice and claimed benefits while on the run, a court has been told.

Terrence O'Keefe, 39, denies murdering David Kemp in Malakoff Close, Great Yarmouth, where Mr Kemp lived alone.

He escaped from a London hospital in February 2008, slipping his guard after treatment, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Mr O'Keefe killed Mr Kemp in March 2008, stealing his television to raise money for drugs, the jury was told.

Auto-erotic theory

During his time on the run Mr O'Keefe, who is believed to have come originally from Liverpool, travelled to the Republic of Ireland and back to Great Yarmouth, jurors heard.

Prosecutor Graham Parkins said the "vulnerable" pensioner was killed with a belt to prevent him speaking to police after Mr O'Keefe had stolen his television.

Police had initially suspected that Mr Kemp had killed himself in "some kind of auto-erotic scenario" as the cover of a pornographic video was found near the body, although his television and the contents of the video were missing.

Mr Parkins said about a month after the killing, an associate of Mr O'Keefe's contacted police and told them that Mr O'Keefe had confessed to the crime.

Assumed name

Mr Parkins said the defendant's "confession" contained details about the circumstances of the death which were not publicly known.

Mr O'Keefe admitted being an escaped prisoner but denied any involvement with Mr Kemp's death and said his associate was lying.

Mr O'Keefe adopted the name James Daniels and contacted police when on the run, complaining that a backpack had been stolen while he was sleeping rough, the court was told.

He also claimed benefits while at large.

Mr Kemp was a lonely widower with only a cat to keep him company in a dirty and untidy flat, the jury heard.

The meals on wheels service alerted police who broke into the flat and found Mr Kemp's body on a bedroom floor.

Mr O'Keefe was serving a sentence for several offences including robbery at the time of his escape, the court heard.



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