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Life sentence for murder of 89-year-old Florence Habesch

A man who killed a pensioner in her home in Rhyl has been jailed for life.

George Norman Johnson, 47, admitted murdering 89-year-old widow Florence Habesch in February this year. Johnson had been released on license in 2006 for a previous murder in 1986.

The court heard that Johnson had been under the influence of drugs and alcohol when he carried out the unprovoked attack on Mrs Habesch in her home.

Mrs Habesch met Johnson through his partner who had an Avon round in the area. He befriended the 89-year-old and carried out a number of odd jobs for her, for which he was paid.

On February 6 Johnson, who was addicted to cocaine and heroine, went to Mrs Habesch’s home, he was invited in and she made him a cup of tea.

But the prosecution told the court that as she was doing so, he struck her with a heavy projector case, knocking her to the floor causing a massive head injury before he went upstairs to steal £25 and some of Mrs. Habesch’s jewellery.

He later told police that when he returned she was staring at him and making gurgling noises, and he admitted hitting her again. He then left for the West Midlands after obtaining more drugs. A home office pathologist said Mrs Habesch died some time later.

Police later received a tip off about the murder from the defendant’s brother.

The judge said that for such a premeditated murder he had no doubt that he would have to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Mr Justice Griffith Williams said that there would no doubt be an inquiry why the defendant was not recalled when he confessed to his probation officer that he was on drugs.

But he said that it was the defendant’s responsibility to ensure that he did not resort to extreme, violent crime to fund his addiction.

Speaking after sentencing today Detective Inspector Jo Williams said:

“Florence May Habesch was a gentle and dignified member of the community who played an active role in her church. She was a very private person who took Johnson into her trust.

“George Johnson abused the trust of Mrs Harbesch in the very worst way possible.

“He took advantage of her good nature and kindness and repaid her with violence which resulted in him taking her life.

“This was a despicable, unprovoked act which is hard to comprehend and is beyond explanation.”

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