'I killed the woman next door, just let me die' - Irishman Michael Purcell jailed for 23 years for murdering his London landlady

'I killed the woman next door, just let me die' - Irishman Michael Purcell jailed for 23 years for murdering his London landlady

AN IRISHMAN in London who stabbed his landlady 48 times has been jailed for 23 years for her murder.

Michael Purcell, 53, of Ashford Court in Cricklewood was sentenced to life in prison at the Old Bailey yesterday for the murder of 49-year-old Imelda Molina.

Originally from Tipperary, Purcell had been living in Britain for a number of years, RTE reports.

He will now serve a minimum of 23 years and also serve a concurrent sentence of 42 months for burglary.

The court heard how on October 29 last year Imelda's partner arrived home from work with pizza.

But when she entered the flat they shared in Ashford Court at about 7.15pm she noticed that their bedroom door had been forced.

On entering the room she made a horrifying discovery - the body of Ms Molina, who had been subjected to a sustained and vicious assault.

A post mortem examination later found Ms Molina had suffered 48 separate stab wounds.

Ms Molina's partner ran from the flat to get help.

Investigating officers who arrived at the scene went to Michael Purcell's bedroom, who had been the victim's tenant for over four years.

In the room they found Purcell on his bed and covered in blood. He had a large cut to the left side of his neck and also had cuts to his wrists.

As police officers and paramedics started trying to save his life, Purcell said: "I killed the woman next door, just let me die."

He told officers he had used a Stanley knife to inflict his own injuries.

Purcell, who was convicted on April 21 after an 11-day trial, was arrested on suspicion of murder before being taken to hospital.

The court heard how at the hospital, he said: "I don't know what came over me yesterday because she was a lovely lady."

The court also heard how Purcell's room was chaotic and littered with empty alcohol bottles.

A search of his bedroom wardrobe turned up a handbag belonging to Imelda's partner containing approximately £1,000 in cash.

When Purcell had recovered from his injuries he was taken to a police station, but gave no explanation of what had happened. He was charged with murder.

Detective Inspector Jamie Stevenson of the Met's Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: "We believe that the motive for the murder was financial.

"Enquires revealed Purcell had problems with alcohol and owed a large amount of money, but even he may not really understand why he carried out such a vicious and sustained assault.

"However, what we can all understand is how Purcell's attack resulted Imelda's life being stolen away from those who loved her.

He added: "Purcell will now face the consequences of his actions; he is a dangerous man who carried out a ferocious attack and he has rightly been brought to account."