Elderly Couple Were Beaten, Gagged, Hog-Tied & Left For Dead By Intruder

An 86-year-old woman died after both she and her husband were the victims of a brutal attack, gagged, hog-tied, and then left for dead by an intruder searching for £30,000 in cash, Derby Crown Court heard.

Vasile Culea, 34, is in court charged with the murder of Freda Walker
Vasile Culea, 34, is in court charged with the murder of Freda Walker

34-year-old Vasile Culea pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, attempted murder, and wounding with intent, but confessed to causing "some harm" to both Freda and Kenneth Walker, who suffered "horrific" injuries at their home in Derbyshire.

The jury at Derby Crown Court was told how Mrs Walker had a reasonable prospect of survival if she had not been "abandoned without any assistance" and "with coverings to her face obstructing her airway".

Mrs Walker, a retired seamstress, and her husband, town councillor Ken Walker, 88, were allegedly attacked by Culea on January 14 this year, leaving Mr Walker with life-threatening injuries.

Mr Walker died several months after the alleged attack, however, his death was said to not be connected to the incident.

Culea admitted the manslaughter of Mrs Walker and inflicting grievous bodily harm on Mr Walker on Tuesday on the first day of his trial.

Prosecutor Michael Auty KC told the jury: "The issue in this case is what the defendant's intention was.

"He will say, we anticipate, yes I am responsible in whole or in part for the injuries, but I did not intend really serious harm, I only intended some harm.

"The prosecution say no, he intended to kill."

Mr Auty added: "We do not anticipate that there will be any dispute that during the period of time that the frankly horrific injuries were inflicted, that there was anybody in the home other than Kenneth Walker, Freda Walker, and the defendant.

"We say that the defendant, for reasons I shall come to, attacked this elderly couple in the sanctuary of their own home.

"His attack was far beyond any justification, savage in its nature and sustained."

Vasile Culea appeared in the dock at Derby Crown Court
Vasile Culea appeared in the dock at Derby Crown Court

Jurors were told how emergency services attended the property the following day after receiving reports from concerned neighbours.

The victim, who had died from a brain injury, was found dead in the kitchen after being gagged, and a bin liner and pillow case knotted over her head.

She had also been "hog-tied" with her "wrists bound together, the lower limbs bound together and the two tied together."

Mr Walker, who also suffered a brain injury, had been gagged and bound at the wrists and knees, with his bindings also tied to each other.

Mr Auty said: "They had been abandoned to their fate. In choosing to attack the victims in the way that he did, demonstrates that the attack was completely devoid of any mercy.

"We say that tells you something about what his intention really was."

Mr Auty told the court how Mr Walker had withdrawn £30,000 to fund home improvements and had hidden bundles of £5,000 around his bedroom. He added: "It is not entirely clear how the defendant came to learn of the existence of the £30,000.

"What this case is really all about is that he decided he was going to have it."

Vasile Culea, of Grove Road, Church Warsop, Nottinghamshire, was caught on CCTV conducting four "reconnaissance mission" circuits of the area in his car, and another three on foot, the court was told.

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