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Thomas Blazquez convicted of murdering bridge club friend Rosemary Shearman in her Hornchurch home

PUBLISHED: 16:43 01 May 2014 | UPDATED: 09:58 02 May 2014

Thomas Blazquez. Picture: Met Police

Thomas Blazquez. Picture: Met Police

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A gambling addicted who killed fellow bridge club member Rosemary Shearman in her Hornchurch home has today received a minimum of 18 years in prison for her murder.

Rosemary Shearman Rosemary Shearman

Mrs Shearman’s son and daughter described the sentence as a “small justice following the tragic murder of our mother”.

Thomas Blazquez, 51, of Onslow Gardens, South Woodford, was found guilty of murdering the 77-year-old after he bound her with tape and rope and beat her head and body.

A large handkerchief had been forced into her upper airways during the attack in September last year.

The post mortem revealed that the cause of her death was a combination of mechanical obstruction of the upper airways and multiple chest wall fractures.

Police outside the victim's home. Police outside the victim's home.

On the morning of her murder the pensioner was due to go on a ten-day cruise to the Norwegian Fjords.

She returned from the hairdressers, her bags were packed, and she was awaiting the arrival of a taxi to take her to Dover.

Mrs Shearman, of Platford Green, had met her killer through a local bridge club where they had played together on a number of occasions but there does not appear to be any further connections between the two.

Blazquez arrived at his victim’s home at about 10.40am on the day of the murder and it is believed Mrs Shearman let him in recognising him from their club.

Rosemary Shearman (left) with friend Charlotte Murphy, Charlotte's sister Sara and Charlotte's daughter Larrissa in Whitstable Rosemary Shearman (left) with friend Charlotte Murphy, Charlotte's sister Sara and Charlotte's daughter Larrissa in Whitstable

The taxi driver who should have taken her to Dover received no response when he arrived at Mrs Shearman’s at 11.45am.

Concerned, he enquired with neighbours who happened to hold keys to the victim’s house and they let themselves in to discover her body lying on an upper landing.

They went outside to ring the police and then noticed the silhouette moving around an upper floor bathroom.

When officers arrived they discovered Blazquez in the bathroom covered in blood, suffering from self-inflicted wounds to his wrists, abdomen and neck.

He was given first aid and rushed to hospital by the London Ambulance Service.

Blazquez had run up significant gambling debts and was suffering from depression.

He was a former prosecution case worker who left the service but continued to leave his parents home in his suit leading them to believe he was going to work.

Greg Shearman and Carol Lewis, Rosemary Shearman’s son and daughter, said after sentencing: “We feel the sentence is some small justice following the tragic murder of our mother.

“We are relieved that the jury reached a guilty verdict and that a very dangerous has been removed from the community.”

They also played tribute to Ray Lomas, the neighbour of Mrs Shearman who went to aid her and raised the alarm.

Investigating officer, Det Ch Insp Noel McHugh, said: “The death of Rosemary Shearman has been a huge loss to her family and the local community, who are still coming to terms with her murder.

“Her family described her as a typical loving grandmother. Blazquez is a highly manipulative and evil man who robbed them of Rosemary who he subjected to an unthinkable death.

“I would like to thank Rosemary’s family and the community for their tremendous support during this very difficult investigation. In particular, I would like to recognise the bravery of the neighbours and emergency first responders who entered the house whilst Blazquez was still inside the property.”

Read more: CPS clerk beat Hornchurch’s Rosemary Shearman to death before attempting suicide, a court heard
Former prosecution case worker stamped Hornchurch pensioner Rosemary Shearman to death, court hears
Hornchurch OAP killer tried to commit suicide by eating poison mushrooms in jail yard
Trial of man accused of murdering Hornchurch pensioner Rosemary Shearman set to begin

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