UK

Man guilty of ‘brutal’ murder of grieving widow on Christmas Day

Thomas Grant stabbed and strangled Lucy Clews in her own home (PA/Staffordshire Police)
Thomas Grant stabbed and strangled Lucy Clews in her own home (PA/Staffordshire Police) Thomas Grant stabbed and strangled Lucy Clews in her own home (PA/Staffordshire Police)

A man who “brutally” killed a grieving widow at her home on Christmas Day and sold her wedding ring to fund a drug habit has been found guilty of murder.

Lucy Clews, 39, from West Chadsmoor, Staffordshire, was found dead at her home on December 29 2021 having been stabbed and strangled, after her mother raised the alarm when she had not heard from her over the festive period, Staffordshire Police said.

Thomas Grant, 28, of no fixed address, denied killing Miss Clews at her home after she offered him a place to stay, claiming someone else was responsible – but refused to say who.

However, on Tuesday, Grant was found guilty of murder by a jury following a five-week trial at Stafford Crown Court.

Lucy Clews was killed on Christmas Day (PA/Staffordshire Police)

The court heard how Grant met recently-widowed Lucy on Christmas Eve and she offered him a place to stay over Christmas as he had nowhere else to go.

Police say Grant, a drug addict, then used Lucy’s home as a base, spending several days visiting people he knew to persuade them to give him money to fuel his habit.

It was the prosecution’s case that Grant stole and sold Miss Clews’s jewellery – including her wedding ring and a necklace belonging to her late husband – in order to raise money for drugs, and also sold her mobile phone.

He was then spotted on CCTV on Christmas Day having left the scene of the murder.

When he was arrested in Hednesford on December 30 2021, Grant gave a false name to officers.

Grant’s possessions were later found in Miss Clews’s home and a knife which had both their DNA on it was located.

Grant later made admissions to officers while in custody awaiting trial, though he later retracted these, claiming that officers had “lied” about what he had said.

Following his conviction, Grant was remanded in custody ahead of sentencing at the same court on Thursday.

In a statement, Lucy’s family said: “We cannot express in words the hurt we feel in losing Lucy.

“We will never know what the future would have held for her.

“The sorrow and pain will never go away, but it is some comfort to us to know that justice has been served.”

Lucy’s mother, Linda, said: “I will always love Lucy, my daughter and my memories of her will live on. I always had her in my mind, no matter where she was.”

Lucy’s grandmother, Elizabeth, said: “I love her and will always love her, forever and always.”

Senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Cheryl Hannan, of the force’s major and organised crime department, said: “Lucy was a vulnerable, grieving widow, who invited Grant to stay with her over Christmas to have some company.

“Grant repaid that kindness by brutally killing her, stealing her phone and some of her most valued possessions – her wedding ring and two necklaces, one of which belonged to her husband.

“Grant denied killing Lucy when interviewed but later admitted he had done so, when he got angry with officers while on remand.

“I’m glad the jury saw through Grant’s persistent lies and found him guilty of murder.

“Though the verdict won’t bring Lucy back, I hope it provides some comfort to her family who continue to grieve her loss.

“Our thoughts and sympathies remain with Lucy’s family and friends at this time.”