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Man denies strangling Yarmouth pensioner

PUBLISHED: 10:23 18 June 2009 | UPDATED: 14:11 03 July 2010

AN ESCAPED prisoner accused of strangling a Yarmouth pensioner to death with a belt told police in interview that he had nothing to do with his death.

Terrence O'Keefe is said to have killed David Kemp, 73, after he escaped from the London hospital where he was being treated last February.

AN ESCAPED prisoner accused of strangling a Yarmouth pensioner to death with a belt told police in interview that he had nothing to do with his death.

Terrence O'Keefe is said to have killed David Kemp, 73, after he escaped from the London hospital where he was being treated last February.

It is alleged that while O'Keefe was on the run he entered Mr Kemp's home in Malakoff Close, Yarmouth, last March, throttled him with a belt and took £18, a television and video with which to buy heroin.

He was arrested after fellow drug addict Paul Vickers told police about O'Keefe's alleged involvement after he claimed he was also threatened with a knife and tied up by O'Keefe, who wanted to make him hand over his benefit money.

In interviews read to the jury at Norwich Crown Court, O'Keefe told police he had only met Mr Kemp twice. He said he knew him as “old Dave” and said the first time he went to his flat was with a friend who had borrowed £20 off Mr Kemp and he had used the toilet in the flat.

Another time he had met Mr Kemp in the street and he was shaky on his feet so he had gone to a nearby shop for him and bought him a packet of cigarettes and milk.

“He offered me the change and I said I was OK and walked away.”

Asked if he had murdered Mr Kemp, he replied: “No.”

He also denied he was in any way responsible for his death and said he had no idea why Mr Vickers would try to implicate him in the death of Mr Kemp.

“I have not killed anyone and have not been involved in the death of anybody,” he said.

He also denied he had ever held a knife up to Mr Vickers or threatened to kill him.

“At no time did I threaten him,”

Earlier, Home Office pathologist Dr Benjamin Swift said Mr Kemp had died from having the belt used as a ligature round his neck. He said he had considered whether the death was an accident involving a sexual act or was an attempt on his life but had ruled these out. He said: “It is very, very difficult for a person to strangle themselves by just wrapping something round their neck.”

He said that at the time he examined Mr Kemp's body he estimated that the pensioner had been dead for three to seven days.

O'Keefe, 39, who is believed to have come from the Liverpool area, denies murdering Mr Kemp between March 4 and 13 last year.

The trial continues.

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