The family of murdered pensioner Giuseppe ‘Joe’ Miceli said his killer Mark Ellson had “got his comeuppance” for his horrific crime.
Ellson, aged 41, killed coin dealer Mr Miceli by repeatedly hitting him over the head with a hammer at the pensioner’s home in Bants Lane, Duston on July 12 last year, fracturing his skull.
The former Royal Navy serviceman, who was homeless when he carried out the attack, was found guilty of murder by a jury at Northampton Crown Court last Friday, following a two-week trial.
He was jailed for life and will serve a minimum term of 24 years before he is considered for parole.
Ellson said he was only guilty of the lesser offence of manslaughter, after admitting striking the blows which caused Mr Miceli’s death.
Over the course of the trial, a picture was painted of a perennially dishonest man who would resort to any means to get money, and who lied about his involvement in Mr Miceli’s murder throughout the entire course of his eight-hour police interview.
It was not until he took to the witness stand last week that he admitted he had lied to officers.
Speaking to the Chron outside court, Mr Miceli’s family said in a joint statement: “A dangerous man is off the streets. It’s not just for Joe, but for the public as well.
“We really want to thank Northamptonshire Police. We feel justice has been done. The police have been so supportive and have gone over and above the call of duty.
“This is not going to change anything, but it will help us move on. He has got his comeuppance.”
After the guilty verdict was delivered, a victim impact statement, from Giuseppe’s brother, Domenico, was read to the court.
It was he who found his brother’s body when he visited on July 13.
He said: “It was like a scene from a horror movie. I will never forget that image of seeing him there in those horrific circumstances.
“Although I knew it was my brother, it didn’t seem real. No-one should have to see someone they loved like that.
“How can anyone do this to a defenceless pensioner in their own home?
“It is a struggle to comprehend how horrific his final moments may have been.
“His retirement hopes and dreams were stolen from him by Mark Ellson. It is something I will never forget.”
The jury took two hours to unanimously convict Ellson, after hearing the closing speeches from counsel.
Christopher Donnellan QC, prosecuting, said: “Mark Ellson is a confident, arrogant, calculating liar, and he has some stamina. Stamina to lie hour after hour after hour in his interview.
“This was not accidental lying. As soon as you give him half a hint, he sees and weaves his way through, giving what he needs to give to avoid the truth. There is no confusion in his mind.
“He is absolutely a liar, but he has woven in elements of truth. That is how he does it. This is a man who even deluded himself on the truth.”
William Harbage QC, defending, said: “Some, or most, or all of you may think I am defending the indefensible.
“I am not here to make excuses for Mr Ellson. I am not asking you to like Mr Ellson and I accept there is much to dislike.
“I am not asking you to say Mr Ellson is an innocent man. But the use of a rubber mallet is inconsistent with the intent to kill or cause serious harm.”
Mr Harbage said Ellson had some traumatic experiences in the Bosnian War, but a psychiatric report concluded he was not suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.