Northam Murder: Carer guilty of brutal murder of frail widow

Michael Robinson

Michael Robinson - Credit: DC Police

A thieving carer has been found guilty of murdering a frail client who caught him looting thousands of pounds from her bank account.

Michael Robinson had been the main carer for bedbound 77-year-old widow Carol Hart until he was suspended three days before her killing because of the missing money.

He returned to her home in J H Taylor Drive in Northam three days later in the early hours of the morning and let himself in by the back door before attacking her in her bed.

He was high on cocaine which he had bought with the stolen money and launched a savage assault in which he punched her in the face, strangled her, and kicked her in the face after dragging her to the ground.

The savagery of the attack led directly to him being tracked down and convicted of the murder because he left a bloody finger print on the bed and his blood-soaked boot was found by police at a rubbish tip.

Robinson started using Mrs Hart’s bank card to withdraw cash after she gave it to him in November 2020. He took out £5,650 over the next five weeks and only stopped when he was caught.

He spent the money on gambling and an increasing addiction to cocaine.

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Mrs Hart became suspicious when she found her account was thousands of pounds short and complained to the care agency which employed Robinson and the police on Friday January 8 this year.

He was suspended but defied an order to stay away from Mrs Hart by going round later that day to try to persuade her of his innocence.  

She sent him packing and said she was not scared of him, but he promised he would return and did so on the morning of Monday 11.

The police were able to pinpoint the time of the attack between 3 and 6 am because there was so much blood at the murder scene that it shorted out the electricity, thus triggering an alert from her pendant alarm.

She was found in a scene of horror by a stand-in carer later that day and quick action by the police enabled them to search the refuse transfer station within hours.

They found the bloodstained boot which Robinson had thrown directly into the back of a refuse truck in one of two binbags as it passed his home in Seaview Road, Northam at 7 am.

He had previously been a binman and was recognised by one of his old workmates who knew him by the nickname Chinny, given to him because of his prominent chin.

He denied ever going back to Mrs Hart’s home and came up with a series of improbable stories to explain away the forensic evidence. His evidence was dismissed as a litany of lies by the prosecution.

Robinson, aged 35, of Seaview Road, Northam, denied murder and theft but was found guilty of both by unanimous verdicts in two hours and 15 minutes by a jury at Exeter Crown Court.

Judge Mr Justice Garnham remanded him in custody and will sentence him tomorrow. The only sentence for murder is life imprisonment but the Judge will have to set a minimum tariff for how long he will serve before he can apply for parole.

The tariff is likely to be higher if the Judge finds Robinson killed Mrs Hart to silence her or cover up his thefts.

The jury heard the case without hearing that Robinson had suffered a horrific attack by his cellmate on his first night in Exeter Prison.

The other man was Anthony Kamara, who was so disgusted by Robinson’s apparently callous reaction to a report of the murder on the local news that he waited for him to go to sleep and then poured boiling water over his head and chest.

Robinson suffered severe burns to 15 per cent of his body and missed his first Crown Court appearance because he was still being treated in hospital.

Kamara, aged 33, of Ritson Street, Toxteth, Liverpool, admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent and was jailed earlier this year for ten and a half years with a three-year extended licence.

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