The sex sadist who tortured an 89-year-old widow

A sex killer who tortured an 89-year-old widow for seven hours before battering her to death with a truncheon was jailed for a minimum of 34 years.

Reece Dempster, 23, left frail Dorothy Woolmer’s home with just two bottles of drink and her purse after murdering in her home in Tottenham, north London.

The killer who was taught the trade of burglary by his crack addicted father later moaned that he ‘only got £100.’

Mrs Woolmer’s half-naked body was found wrapped ‘like a mummy’ in a white bedsheet by her sister and best friend on the morning of 4 August last year.

Dempster had inflicted extensive internal injuries on the helpless widow with the truncheon.

A month before Dempster had been touring the area offering to do gardening work, secretly picking out homes occupied by elderly victims which would make ideal burglary targets.

As he ‘mangled’ Ms Woolmer’s flowerbeds in Waltheof Gardens with lawn mower he found out she lived alone after her husband of 60 years, Ken Woolmer, a former Royal Navy engineer who served on HMS Belfast passed away.

Dempster forced open the back door and hunted for money before setting upon Ms Woolmer as she lay in bed and subjecting her to a horrendous ordeal.

He repeatedly punched the helpless pensioner before beating and sexually assaulting her with the 40cm truncheon.

Ian Hasling, the son of Ms Woolmer’s best friend Anne, suspected something was wrong when he turned up at 8.45am to deliver the pensioner her Sunday newspapers and groceries.

He rushed to call his mother when the door was left unanswered.

An ambulance was called but despite the best efforts of paramedics the victim was pronounced dead at 10.47am.

Dempster admitted murder and two counts of sexual assault by penetration on the third day of his trial.

He has convictions dating back to 2015 for burglary and carrying weapons.

In a voice choked with emotion Mr Justice Ediss told him: ‘I have no doubt that you were influenced by the consumption of drink and crack cocaine but that does not in anyway excuse what you did.

‘Actually it makes it worse.’

The judge said Mrs Woolmer’s ordeal had been ‘painful, humiliating and terrifying.’

‘Because of you she died an unimaginably dreadful death,’ the judge added.

Dempster and his father, Mark Vaughan (corr) broke into a house near Ms Woolmer’s home in Roundway, Tottenham, on 16 June last year.

He was sentenced to eight months suspended for 18 months and made to wear an electronic tag on 5 December 2018.

Ms Hasler and Ms Woolmer’s sister Lilian Richardson had found the widow’s body in the main upstairs window after letting themselves in with a spare key.

‘In the main upstairs bedroom, they found Dorothy Woolmer,’ said prosecutor Anthony Orchard.

‘She was lying half naked on her back on the bed. Her legs were apart. It was obvious she had been attacked and severely beaten.

Dempster was arrested on 5 August after his DNA and fingerprints and were found at the scene.

The prosecutor said the attack likely took place at some point between the evening of 3 August and the morning of 4 August when CCTV captured Dempster in the local area.

‘You will hear he had been there once before to do some gardening,’ Mr Orchard said.

‘He had cased the premises. He knew a vulnerable elderly lady lived there.

‘CCTV evidence that evening indicates he may have been drinking, but he clearly knew what he was doing. He broke in, probably using a key via the back door.

‘He looked for money downstairs. He moved upstairs and found Dorothy Woolmer alone in her bed.

‘He attacked her, battering her about the head numerous times, probably because he wanted to know where the money was kept, before sexually assaulting her.

‘A 40cm truncheon caused her extensive internal injuries. Dempster left shortly before 6am the following morning, taking with him a black bag containing her black purse and at least two bottles of alcohol.

‘He was to comment afterwards he’d only got £100.’

Ms Woolmer, known to friends and family as Dot, was seen letting Dempster in July when he offered to trim her hedges.

He ploughed his lawnmower into her flowerbeds and left without clearing up, but the victim had paid him anyway.

Dempster, of Henningham Road, Tottenham, admitted murder and sexual assault by penetration. He had earlier admitted manslaughter and burglary.

Mrs Woolmer’s sister Lilian Richardson, 77, said of Dempster in an impact statement: ‘He is a horrible human being who deserves the most severe punishment known to man.’

Mrs Richardson added: ‘The events surrounding her death have brought extreme heartache and stress.’

She said she now checks her wardrobe and under her bed before she goes to sleep at night and bursts into tears at any moment.

‘I always have days when I am so up and down anything can trigger me and take me back to thinking about what happened to Dot,’ Mrs Richardson said.

‘This will live with me for the rest of my life. I will not be able to unsee what I saw that morning.’

She said all Mrs Woolmer’s family have been badly affected by her murder.

‘It breaks our heart thinking how scared she would have been and that we couldn’t protect her from all that pain and fear,’ Mrs Richardson said.

‘The fact there is person like him breathing the same air as Dot did is unthinkable.’

Dempster wrote a letter to the judge apologsing for what he had done and claims he is ‘utterly disgusted’ with himself

The court heard both his parents were drug addicts and Dempster’s father encouraged him to burgle to pay for their habits.

Mr Justice Edis told Dempster: ‘You knew that Dorothy lived on her own and was 89 years of age.

‘She was tiny and defenceless and you knew that too.’

He added: ‘The internal injuries you cased when you violated her were very severe and were caused when she was still alive.

‘You left your seeen behind because you were sexually excited by what you were doing.

‘That beggars belief.

‘You seem to have killed for pleasure in your drug crazed state.’

Mrs Ricardson was led from the court in tears after seeing Dempster jailed for life.

Kristen Katsouris, from the CPS, said: ‘This was a brutal attack on a vulnerable and innocent elderly lady in her own home where she should have been safe.

‘Reece Dempster let himself into Dorothy Woolmer’s home and carried out heinous crimes against her.

‘He claimed to not remember what happened and to have ‘blacked out’ due to excessive alcohol and drug consumption, but the overwhelming prosecution evidence against him meant that he admitted the truth that his vile actions were deliberate and planned.

‘This was an incredibly difficult and heart-breaking case and nothing can bring Mrs Woolmer back. Our thoughts remain with her family and friends.’

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