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Burglar, 23, admits murder and sex assault of pensioner, 89, found battered in her home

Will Taylor
News Reporter
Reece Dempster, left, is accused of raping Dorothy Woolmer, right. (PA Images/Elizabeth Cook)

A burglar has admitted the murder and sexual assault of an 89-year-old pensioner found dead in her bed in her north London home.

Dorothy Woolmer was found dead in her bedroom at her home in Waltheof Gardens, Tottenham, in August 2019.

She died of multiple blunt trauma injuries, a postmortem examination showed.

On Wednesday burglar Reece Dempster, 23, admitted murdering and sexually assaulting 89-year-old Dorothy, changing his pleas to three offences. He had previously done some gardening work for her.

Reece Dempster. (PA Images/Met Police)
Police outside Dorothy Woolmer's home in August last year. (SWNS)

At a hearing at the Old Bailey last month he had denied murdering her but admitted manslaughter, as well as burgling her purse.

Dempster, who killed Mrs Woolmer during his hunt for money to feed his drug habit, had denied raping her and two counts of assault by penetration with a truncheon.

Dempster showed little emotion as he entered his guilty pleas. He is due to be sentenced on Thursday.

Mr Justice Edis told jurors: “I know how upsetting it would have been for all of you to have had to hear the evidence, had these events not happened.”

Prosecutor Anthony Orchard QC told jurors earlier in the trial that Dempster has “cased the premises” where Mrs Woolmer lived.

Emergency services on the scene at Waltheof Gardens. (SWNS)

He likely broke in via the back door after 10.47pm and found Mrs Woolmer asleep in bed, he told jurors.

“He attacked her, battering her about the head numerous times, probably because he wanted to know where the money was kept, before sexually assaulting her,” he said.

Dempster left the house just before 6am the next morning and went to his father’s house, vomiting on the way, before leaving with his father in a change of clothes nine minutes later.

The court heard Dempster told his former partner: “Nik, I need to tell you something.

“The other night I was around my dad’s house with my Dad and (Dempster’s brother) Aaron.

“We were smoking crack and drinking 3 or 4 bottles of gin and I was completely f***ed.

“I went off and I went to rob a house. I think I hurt someone.”

He had told Ms Richards that he blacked out, turned a light on and saw there was blood, before telling her it was “really bad” and “I’m going to be in so much trouble”.

“I only got a hundred quid – it wasn’t even worth it,” he told her.

“Tragically Dorothy Woolmer was killed due to Reece Dempster’s need to feed his lust for drugs and alcohol,” Mr Orchard said.

The alarm was raised when her sister and a close friend realised she hadn’t answered the door for her morning newspaper. They discovered her bloodied boy semi-naked in her bed.

Mrs Woolmer was widowed in 2017 after 64 years of marriage.

Handout photo issued by Metropolitan Police of Dorothy Woolmer.

In a statement after the case, Mrs Woolmer’s family said: “Dot was a wonderful, full of life, beautiful woman.

“Family was everything to her and she was everything to us.

“The events surrounding Dot’s death have brought extreme amounts of heartache and stress to our entire family. She was taken from us in such a cruel way.”

“The only thing for the family now would be a severe sentence for this man in order to prevent him from being able to do this to another family.”