Date: 15 May 2008
Place: Sefton Road, Epsom, Surrey
Joyce Cregeen was murdered at her home in Epsom in May 2008.
A woman, her cleaner, was tried for her murder but found not guilty.
She was stabbed at least 25 times and had 66 wounds and was found in a pool of blood in her bed on the morning of 15 May 2008.
Her post-mortem stated that she had stab wounds to the right side of her chest, stomach and right arm and that her heart, lung and liver had been perforated. Her cause of death was stated as being due to shock and haemorrhage caused by multiple stab wounds.
She was last seen at 6.35pm on 12 May 2008 and later on 14 May 2008 had left a 31-second message on her cleaners mobile phone which was alleged to have been about money the cleaner had stolen from her bank account. Joyce Cregeen was found early the next morning by her hairdresser, who had let herself in with her own key, dead in bed. The hairdresser said that when she arrived at 11.40am Joyce Cregeen's curtains were still drawn. She said that she saw Joyce Cregeen lying across the bed with her feet dangling over the side that was nearest to the window, and that a pillow covered half her face and that her body and arms were covered in blood.
There were no signs of a forced entry and the back doors and front windows were all locked. The police also said that there was no evidence that the house had been searched. A copy of that day's newspaper was found lying in the hallway.
There was blood on the stair lift at the top of the stairs.
The court heard that Joyce Cregeen was a prudent lady and not inclined to answer her door at night. The prosecution said that if she had not answered her door that night and let someone in then her murderer probably let themselves in with a key.
The murder weapon was later found outside in undergrowth halfway between Joyce Cregeen's house and the cleaners house. It had Joyce Cregeen’s blood on it and was similar to other knives that were found in a knife block in Joyce Cregeen's kitchen.
The woman tried for her murder was her cleaner who used to come in once a week every Tuesday to do her shopping as well as collect her pension. She had worked for Joyce Cregeen for eight years. She was acquitted of her murder but confessed to having stolen money from Joyce Cregeen's bank account for which she was given a conditional discharge.
The prosecution said that the cleaner stabbed Joyce Cregeen to death after being caught stealing from her.
A month after Joyce Cregeen's death the cleaner had been declared bankrupt.
The court heard that before she died Joyce Cregeen had marked up two bank statements indicating withdrawals that she had not made. Joyce Cregeen had been to see her bank, NatWest, over a £60 withdrawal and had told the bank employee that she would be confronting her cleaner about it.
The prosecution said that on 14 May the cleaner had stolen £400 from Joyce Cregeen's account and on the same day paid off £100 in rent arrears and put £150 of it into her Abbey account. The £400 was £250 from a cash machine and £150 from Joyce Cregeen's pension account. The court heard that it was after the £400 had gone missing that Joyce Cregeen had called the cleaner and had left the 31-second message. The prosecution said that the telephone call was probably to discuss the earlier thefts of smaller amounts from her and that the cleaner would have then realised that it would have been inevitable that Joyce Cregeen would later discover the missing £400.
The prosecution said that the theft of money played an absolutely integral part in the story behind Joyce Cregeen's murder
The cleaner had been behind on her rent and council tax was later declared bankrupt on 23 June 2008 owing £15,129.
The court heard that in June 2007 the cleaner had £45 spare each week from her total earnings to buy food for her children, pay for gas and electricity bills and meet general living expenses after her direct debits, rent and council tax had been paid. However, in January 2008 her rent had gone up meaning that her outgoings were more than her income even before buying food by about £5. However, she then lost her job at Threshers, the off-licence, where she had been earning £175 a week.
However, the cleaner was acquitted for Joyce Cregeen's murder.
Joyce Cregeen had lived alone in the three-bedroom terraced house since her husband had died in 1997. She was a retired police administrator.