Handyman admits murdering Romford pensioner Rosina Coleman with hammer

Rosina Coleman was murdered in her home in Romford. Photo: Met Police

Rosina Coleman was murdered in her home in Romford. Photo: Met Police - Credit: Met Police

A Romford handyman has admitted bludgeoning an 85-year-old widow to death with a hammer.

Convicted burglar Paul Prause, 65, attacked former seamstress Rosina Coleman at her home in Ashmour Gardens and stole her diamond ring.

He then called police, claiming to have found the body, on May 15.

A post-mortem examination found the mother of two died as the result of blunt force trauma.

At a hearing at the Old Bailey, Prause, from Romford, pleaded guilty to her murder.

At an earlier hearing, prosecutor Jonathan Polnay said Prause had telephoned police and claimed he had found Mrs Coleman’s body when he arrived at her house in Ashmour Gardens.

Officers found she had “plainly sustained severe trauma all over her body”, Mr Polnay said.

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An “untidy search” had been carried out in her bedroom, the court heard.

In police interviews, Prause was challenged about his initial account.

He eventually told officers that he had gone round for a cup of tea and as he was leaving Ms Coleman called him a “sod” and swore at him as she told him to “grow up”.

He claimed that made him so angry that he hit her around the head with a hammer.

He had felt rage and could not stop himself and continued hitting her until she was dead, he told police.

Afterwards, he told police that he had staged the bedroom to make it look like a burglary.

Prause said he had hidden belongings in his house, including a diamond ring which was later found in a shed.

After giving at least two false accounts to police, the defendant accepted responsibility for inflicting the fatal injuries.

The hammer which inflicted the injuries was recovered from the River Rom.

The court heard Prause had previous convictions between 1966 and 1994 for theft, burglary and taking a vehicle without consent.

At the time of her death, neighbours described Mrs Coleman as “incredible” and someone who was “always happy”.

She had lived on the road for decades with her husband Bill, who died about 11 years ago.