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Yarmouth pensioner's killer jailed

PUBLISHED: 09:53 28 September 2009 | UPDATED: 15:09 03 July 2010

A convicted rapist who strangled a Yarmouth pensioner while on the run from a secure hospital has been jailed for at least 27 years.

Terrence O'Keefe, who killed 73-year-old David Kemp before stealing his television to raise money for drugs, was convicted of murder by a jury at Norwich Crown Court in June.

A convicted rapist who strangled a Yarmouth pensioner while on the run from a secure hospital has been jailed for at least 27 years.

Terrence O'Keefe, who killed 73-year-old David Kemp before stealing his television to raise money for drugs, was convicted of murder by a jury at Norwich Crown Court in June.

Jailing 39-year-old O'Keefe for life, Mr Justice Saunders yesterday described the murder of Mr Kemp in March last year as a “heartless and brutal” attack on a lonely and vulnerable victim.

O'Keefe, originally from Liverpool, killed Mr Kemp after absconding from a secure mental health unit in London while serving a previous life sentence imposed in 1996 for rape and robbery.

Mr Justice Saunders, sitting at Birmingham Crown Court, told O'Keefe he was satisfied that the murder had been committed for gain.

Passing sentence, he said: “It was, on anyone's understanding, a heartless and brutal killing - there can be no doubt that the motivation for this killing was to steal property.”

The judge added that, in light of the fact that the murder was committed while O'Keefe was serving a life sentence, the Parole Board may never consider him safe to be released.

Prior to sentence, O'Keefe's counsel, Tarquin McCalla, said his client still maintained that he had not killed Mr Kemp.

Mr McCalla told the court: “He maintains his denial for this

offence and will do so both now

and in future.”

Heavily-built O'Keefe, who used a belt to throttle Mr Kemp at his flat, had met him twice before the killing and regarded the pensioner as “easy pickings”.

Police did not initially think that Mr Kemp, who lived alone in a flat

in Malakoff Close, had been murdered.

But about a month after his death, one of O'Keefe's associates contacted police and claimed that the drug user had confessed to the killing.

O'Keefe was convicted at Liverpool Crown Court in September 1991 of robbery and having sex with an under-age girl and given a 57-month custodial sentence.

In June 1996 at the Old Bailey he was given a life term - with a recommendation he should serve at least 10 years - for rape, false imprisonment and robbery.

But he went on the run while being held at a secure unit in London in February 2008 and used a false name to claim benefits before killing Mr Kemp.

Following O'Keefe's conviction for murder, the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust apologised unreservedly and acknowledged that the escape “should not have happened”.


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