A man has been jailed for murder following the death of a woman in a fire in Teddington in August 2018.
William Kydd, 54, (9.08.64) of Gabriel Close, Feltham, was convicted of the murder of 74-year-old Carole Harrison on Tuesday, 18 June following a trial at the Old Bailey.
He was sentenced at the same court today, Friday 19 July to life imprisonment and will be jailed for a minimum of 30 years.
The court heard that police, the London Fire Brigade and the London Ambulance Service were called to reports of a fire at a residential address in Mays Road, Teddington at around 01:00hrs on Tuesday, 21 August 2018.
The body of a woman, later identified as Carole Harrison, was found. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
A post-mortem examination gave the cause of death as smoke inhalation and a head injury.
Carole, a mother of five and a former nurse, had lived in Teddington for 46 years, the last 18 of which were on her own since the death of her husband.
A murder investigation was launched after enquiries by LFB concluded that the fire had been started deliberately.
Detectives established that Carole had been seen in the company of a man of scruffy appearance on the day of her murder and shortly before the house was discovered ablaze. The man was subsequently identified as William Kydd.
Kydd was arrested on suspicion of murder on Saturday, 25 August 2018 and denied having had any involvement, answering ‘no comment’ to all questions put to him. He was released on bail.
Detectives continued to work on the investigation and began piecing together evidence of his presence at the scene.
A pathology report in November 2018 stated that Carole had been alive during the fire and had been assaulted shortly before it.
It was established that the fires had been started in four separate areas of the house and that internal doors had been closed; Carole would not have been able to close the doors owing to the arthritis she suffered.
Kydd was further seen on CCTV leaving Carole’s house minutes before the fire was first reported.
Forensic evidence found that Kydd had access to the address on the day in question and that, as a smoker, he had access to some form of ignition in order to smoke his cigarettes.
Mobile phone evidence showed that despite having been in near daily phone contact with Carole prior to her death, he made no attempt to call her after her murder and re-located to another area of London.
Kydd was re-arrested on Wednesday, 28 November 2018 and was charged with murder on Thursday, 29 November and remanded in custody.
The family of Carole Harrison released the following statement after Kydd was jailed: “Nothing will bring her back to us or the family items destroyed in the fire.
“This has been a very tough time for all of us and we are just happy that we have got her justice and stopped him from being able to attack any more women like he has done in the past as he is now locked away where he belongs as at no point during the trial did he show any remorse, he just refused to come to court and then refused to answer questions like he was playing the system.
“We would like to thank the firefighters who arrived within minutes and rushed in to get her out even though it was too late to save her.
“We really want to say a big thank you to the dedicated police team who have worked so hard on this case over the past months gathering all of the evidence to bring him to court to get justice for mum and we appreciate all of the support given to us by them at court every day as without them it would have been much harder.
“We also want to say thank you to the legal team Mr Tom Little and Mr Phillip Stott who put forward such a strong case against him and to His Honour Judge Katz for how he ran the trial. We especially want to say a big thank you to the jury who saw him for what he was and for what he had done to a defenceless old lady and found him guilty of her murder.
“We also need to say thank you to the Witness Services Team for their help and support looking after us everyday that we attended court.
“The family would also like to thank all of those who gave witness statements and those who also took the witness stand at court to answer questions and give evidence as you helped strengthen the case against him.
“Once again, a big thank you to everyone involved in this case for helping us to get justice for her. We can now try and put this all behind us and get on with our lives knowing she can now rest in peace and he can’t hurt anyone else.”
Detective Inspector Domenica Catino, who led the investigation, said: “Carole was an elderly vulnerable woman who had a very trusting nature and would believe that as soon as she was spoken to by anyone they were her friends and she would go to any lengths to help them.
“Kydd clearly preyed on this vulnerability callously taking full advantage of Carole’s generosity for his own selfish gain and stopping at nothing to get what he wanted.
“On the night of her murder he violently assaulted Carole leaving her unconscious with a head injury. He then decided to set fire to the premises to cover up his actions and deliberately set fire to four areas within her home, in her bedroom where she lay by the doorway, the stairs and two separate downstairs rooms. As a result, there was no possibility, if Carole had regained consciousness, that she could have escaped.
“One way or another Kydd was determined to get rid of any evidence, which also included Carole, giving no thought to anything but himself.
“Kydd is an extremely dangerous individual who accepts no responsibility for his actions. It is always someone else’s fault.
“My thoughts go out to Carole’s family who were dignified throughout the trial and having to deal with Kydd’s antics in court which again displayed any lack of remorse. Frankly he did not care. I want to thank Carole’s family for their support and praise the good work of the investigation team in getting justice for Carole.”