A bodybuilder who strangled a frail great grandmother to death in her own home, before police found him hiding in bushes outside a school, has been jailed for nine years.
Chase Kelly, 31, brutally throttled 84-year-old Mildred Whitmore in a random attack on June 1 last year.
Police scrambled to her home in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, after receiving a call at 9.10am from a worried neighbour.
Officers arrived and found the body of 5ft-tall Mildred, known as “the queen of the family” on the floor, with her cardigan draped over her face.
A manhunt was launched, and at 10am police found a half-naked Kelly hiding in bushes outside a school nearby.
The 31-year-old thug, who did not know Mildred or her family, had cuts and bruises to his arms and legs and was arrested on suspicion of murder.
It emerged Chase had been taking steroids – both orally and by injection – and had downed half a bottle of vodka and amphetamines before the attack.
He had earlier been to the George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton, after developing high blood pressure, but had discharged himself.
A court heard a nurse said tests showed he had taken 10 times the normal amount of a prescribed amphetamine, which he had been previously been given for PTSD.
Last month Kelly, of Arley, Warwickshire, admitted manslaughter on the ground of diminished responsibility at Warwick Crown Court.
He was jailed for a minimum of nine years and nine months.
The court heard Chase killed Mildred while experiencing a psychotic episode triggered by the drugs and booze in his system.
After the sentencing, Mildred’s heartbroken family paid tribute to her and blasted “brutal” Kelly for causing her “terror in her final moments”.
They said: “We have no words to describe how Chase Kelly has caused us to feel.
“Kelly took the life of our mother Mildred in such a brutal way and that loss is unbearable.
“Collectively as a family, our hearts are broken at the thought that we will never see her again.
“Despite this, Chase Kelly can never take away the memories of our caring mother and great grandmother.
“These memories will keep us strong through the dark times ahead.
“Our mother Mildred always played a big part in our lives, she was always there to offer love, care, and affection to all.
“Being in her company made us feel very safe and loved, she was the beating heart of our small family.
“Knowing that our mother was brutally attacked in her own home leaves us devastated as a family.
“A place which was always her safe haven, turned into a place of terror in her final moments.
“This is something we will have to live with until the end of our own lives.
“Knowing that we were unable to protect the one person that we loved, cherished, and cared for unconditionally.
“Nobody should be attacked in their own home, especially an 84-year-old, 5ft, defenceless lady.”
They added: “We were all very proud of how independent our Mum lived and how she always kept herself fit and healthy.
“We as a family fully believe that our Mum would have still of had a number of years of her life to look forward to, if it had not been so cruelly taken away from her in the early hours of June 1, 2021.
“No sentence will ever be enough in our eyes for what happened to our mother.
“No other family should have to go through the pain that we have been dealing with and will have to deal with for the rest of our lives.”
Detective Inspector Collette O’Keefe, from Warwickshire Police, said: “This was a tragic and senseless death of a much-loved lady, who is clearly missed by her family and friends.
“This has been an incredibly difficult time for everyone who knew her, and Mildred’s family has acted with dignity throughout the investigation and subsequent court proceedings.”
Kelly also pleaded guilty to assaulting a man in Ryton on Dunsmore, Warwickshire, in November 2020.