Sykes murder
Raymond Sykes was today jailed for 25 years for a murder he claimed was "an act of mercy".The Met Police

A man bludgeoned an 82-year-old pensioner to death before stealing his bank card and going shopping in JD Sports in what he tried to claim was an 'act of mercy'. Raymond Sykes from Woolwich, in south east London, killed Arthur Walters-Girout, 82, with a claw hammer last summer saying in court that the elderly man was already hitting himself with the implement.

Instead Peter Rook QC rejected his claims as "wholly inconceivable", saying that Sykes' real motivation for the "savage attack" on his vulnerable former neighbour was for financial gain. The 36-year-old was then jailed for a minimum of 25 years after being found guilty of murder.

The attack took place on 15 June last year, Walters-Girout, a divorced father-of-two originally from South Africa. Five days later, the retired security guard was found dead on a chair by his son Rowland.

His assailant claimed that he was merely assisting Walters-Girout in killing himself after the pensioner had picked up a hammer and started to hit himself over the head. During the trial it emerged that Sykes had stolen Walter-Girout's car and his bank card and after extracting the PIN he went shopping in JD Sports.

In total 84 transactions were made on the account, amounting to over £2,412. The court had heard that Sykes was only involved in three of the purchases after he admitted himself to hospital on 15 June.

The Old Bailey heard that Sykes had spent time in a psychiatric hospital and has four children by former partners. Also connected to the case, Jason Hill, 23, and Ashley Hill, 22, again from Woolwich, have previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and will be sentenced soon.

Walters-Girout came to the UK in the 1970s, and his ex-wife Ann said they were still close. In a victim impact statement she said her former husband was an "outgoing" man who would talk to anyone, loved following the news, caravanning, and DIY.

She said her family had still not come to terms with the brutal death, according to Sky News: "Arthur's tragic and untimely death has created an enormous void in all our lives."