March 2, 2014
A burglar has been jailed for 32 years for stabbing a pensioner to death after breaking into his home.
Aaron De Silva stabbed Joseph Griffiths 22 times and he was found by his wife and a friend in a pool of blood following the “completely brutal and overwhelming assault” in November 2012.
He admitted manslaughter but was found guilty at the Old Bailey of murdering the 73-year old.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said the 21-year-old, of Earls Court, south west London, was also sentenced to 12 years to run consecutively after admitting aggravated burglary armed with a lock knife.
It is believed Mr Griffiths interrupted De Silva and challenged him after he woke up during the burglary at his home in Fulham, South West London, early that morning.
A post-mortem examination found the businessman, who had two grown-up sons and seven grandchildren, died of multiple stab wounds.
After the attack De Silva was caught on CCTV taking a “cool, calm and collected walk” back to the Earls Court hostel where he was staying to wash his clothes and get rid of evidence.
Footage of him at the hostel about an hour after the murder showed him listening to music, seemingly entirely unaffected by what he had just done.
He was arrested at the Opendoor Housing Trust Hostel three days later.
The court heard that on the morning of November 10, De Silva went into a number of gardens on Hazlebury Road before stealing a pair of bolt croppers from an unlocked garden shed.
Using the tool, he broke a rear window on the basement level of Mr Griffiths’ nearby six-storey terraced home and walked around the lower two levels before launching the fatal attack.
Mr Griffiths had been sleeping in a separate bedroom from his wife Judy on the ground floor of the home they had lived in for 50 years while family friends, who were visiting for a wedding, slept on the second floor.
A victim impact statement by his eldest son Mark Griffiths, 53, was previously read out to the court.
“The murder of Joe in such a senseless manner has left a gaping hole not just in our family, but every family who knew him,” it said.