Date: 8 Aug 2015
Place: Cedar Close, Southend
Albert Williams was beaten to death during a burglary at his flat which was then set on fire between 5am and 7am on 8 August 2015.
It was noted that it was the second time that he had been beaten and burgled at his home, having been burgled on 1 August 2015 and left cowering there for four days before the police and medical authorities were informed.
In January 2016, two drug addicts and a cafe owner were charged in connection with his murder. It was heard that the two drug addicts had burgled Albert Williams's flat on 1 August 2015 after they were tipped off by the cafe owner who delivered meals-on-wheels to Albert Williams's flat that Albert Williams kept a key under his mat for him or his staff to let themselves in in the event that Albert Williams had not heard them ringing the bell. The charges against the cafe owner were dropped before the trial.
There were two trials, the first of which collapsed following controversy over evidence, and at the second trial the two drug addicts were acquitted of murder.
It was later claimed that whilst the two drug addicts had carried out the first burglary, that they had been easy options for the police for the second burglary and Albert Williams's murder, even though another suspect, a 42-year-old man, who was initially arrested by the police before they had identified the two drug addicts as suspects, had been identified. It was heard that the 42-year-old man had iniitially been suspected and questioned by the police in relation to the murder, but that he had pointed the police towards the two drug addicts, providing witnesses for them, and that he was then released. It was later suggested that the police had not done their job properly and that that had resulted in the case collapsing once and the two drug addicts being acquitted of murder and Albert Williams's murder being left unsolved.
When Albert Williams was first found the police said that because there were no visible external injuries to him that they initially treated his death as unexplained and likely to be non-suspicious, although they sealed the scene while further investigations were carried out. However, the police said that as soon as the post-mortem found that Albert Williams had received serious internal injuries, they launched a murder investigation. His cause of death was given as 'compression of the neck and multiple blunt force chest injuries'.
However, it was noted that Albert Williams's injuries should have been more apparent because his chest was almost flattened due to 50 rib injuries that he had, as well as the injuries that he had previously received in the first burglary, as well as the fact that the police should have known fairly soon that Albert Williams had previously been beaten and burgled. The pathologist that carried out Albert Williams's post-mortem also noted that he could not state whether Albert Williams had died from his chest injuries or due to strangulation but noted that Albert Williams would have found it impossible to breath after receiving his injuries because both of his lungs had collapsed. The pathologist also stated that Albert Williams's heart, pancreas and bowels all had serious tears to them. He also noted that Albert Williams still had painkillers in his system from the previous attack.
The police noted that at the time of his death, they had also been investigating a burglary at Albert Williams's home that he had reported a few days earlier in which he was attacked and had had £2,000 stolen. It was suspected that up to four men had carried out the first burglary which took place on 1 August 2015 but was not reported until about 5 August 2015 because Albert Williams had spent four days hiding until he was found by the cafe owner who had come to check up on him.
It was noted that during the second burglary during which Albert Williams was murdered, that about £10,000 was also taken.
The police said that they then looked into determining whether or not the two incidents were linked, the first and second burglaries. The police determined that two drug addicts had been involved in the previous burglary and after further evidence was found, they said that they decided to consider them prime suspects in Albert Williams's murder and charged them.
The two drug addicts were then tried for Albert Williams's murder but acquitted in December 2016. However, they were both convicted for the burglary at Albert Williams's home on1 August 2015 and jailed for eight-and-a-half-years each.
One of the drug addicts was cleared of murder after it was heard that medical evidence showed that he had been sleeping rough in a bin area in Southend and had been suffering from hypothermia at 7am on 8 August 2015, the day of the murder. It was then noted that although he had not been far away from Albert Williams's flat, that if he had been involved, he would not have had enough time to have developed hypothermia. It was also noted that he had not had any obvious signs of having been involved in a violent assault or evidence of being involved with a fire on him.
It was noted that the other drug had only been charged on the basis that he had confessed to people that the initial suspect, the 42-year-old man, had put forward as witnesses against the two drug addicts and who were criminals themselves.
It was later claimed that the two drug addicts were easy targets for the police and that they had been put forward by the initial suspect to clear himself.
It was heard that the police had first suspected the 42-year-old man and arrested him two weeks after Albert Williams was found dead. However, the man later provided an alibi, as well as five witnesses who it was alleged could provide evidence to prove that the two drug addicts had committed the burglary. However, two of the men that gave evidence against the two drug addicts were themselves convicted criminals, with records for burglary, theft and violence. It was noted that they had also both lived in the Southend area and that one of them had lived in the same block of flats as the two drug addicts, which was noted, could have made them potential suspects in Albert Williams's murder themselves, but it was found that they had not been questioned in that regard. It was also noted that all but one of the men that gave evidence for the prosecution had been put forward to the police by the 42-year-old man and that the other person was a prisoner who said that one of the two drug addicts had confessed to him.
It was also noted that the 42-year-old man that was initially arrested for Albert Williams's murder had allegedly confessed to a police informant about being at a burglary and a fire a few days after Albert Williams was found and before the police had said that they were treating his death as suspicious.
It was noted that it was controversy over the evidence relating to the 42-year-old man led to the collapse of the first trial in June 2016.
It was heard that the 42-year-old man had been cleared by the police after they reviewed CCTV footage from the block of flats where he lived and determined that because they hadn't seen the 42-year-old man coming out through the foyer around the time of the murder that he could not have been involved. It was also heard that the police had concluded that because the 42-year-old man had lived so near to Albert Williams, that mobile phone location tracking for his phone was useless. It was further noted that none of the CCTV footage from the block of flats or the mobile phone records were handed over to the defence team representing the two drug addicts, who were themselves trying to blame the 42-year-old man and his associates for the murder.
It was noted at the trial that the fact that the police had said that Albert Williams's injuries were not visible externally, even though it was said that unimaginable violence had been used against him had caused a fifteen-day delay between his death and his post-mortem during which it was said that crucial forensic evidence could have been contaminated.
The cafe owner was charged with conspiracy to burgle following Albert Williams's murder in early 2016. It was heard that Albert Williams used to go to Deb’s Diner in Sutton Road, Southend, run by the cafe owner, each day for his breakfast which he would eat at the cafe and then make an order for dinner which would be delivered each day to his flat, usually by the cafe owner or one of his staff. It was noted that after Albert Williams had been burgled the first time, on 1 August 2015, Albert Williams had spent the first four days cowering in his flat and nursing his cuts and bruises, and it wasn't until the cafe owner went to see him that the police were alerted, and he received medical attention.
It was further noted that it was the cafe owner that called at his flat on 8 August 2015, at which point Albert Williams was dead, and smelt the smoke still smouldering and called the fire brigade.
After the cafe owner was charged with conspiracy to burgle, he said, 'I was there just to help him out and give him what he wanted. He was a nice person, he was a kind person. I tried to do things for him. He was really a good man and didn’t deserve that'. However, the police claimed that the cafe owner had been pointing out burglary opportunities to criminals from amongst his meals-on-wheels customers. The cafe owner denied the claim and said that it almost cost him his business. He later changed his business name. The charges against the cafe owner were later dropped.
One of the two drug addicts that was tried for Albert Williams's murder claimed that his DNA was found in Albert Williams's home after he carried out the first burglary there following a tip off from the cafe owner. It was heard that they had found a key under Albert Williams's doormat which was the key that was used by the meals on wheels people to let themselves. It was heard that Albert Williams left the key under his mat as he was terrified that he might not hear the doorbell and that he would miss his meal.
It was heard that the meals-on-wheels deliverers occasionally helped Albert Williams and that on one occasion a man had helped him use his microwave because Albert Williams was baffled by the technology and that on another occasion an ex-employee had gone into Albert Williams flat and had seen a shoe box with a large amount of cash in it.
The first trial took place at Chelmsford Crown Court, but had to be abandoned in June 2016. The second trial took place at the Inner London Crown Court and concluded on 2 December 2016.
A friend of Albert Williams said that Albert Williams had been discharged too quickly from Southend Hospital after the first burglary and said that if he had been kept in for treatment that he would not have been at his flat during the second burglary. The friend also said that there should have been a full inquest because he thought that the injuries from the first attack had compounded the injuries Albert Williams received in the second attack.
It was also noted that after the first burglary, Albert Williams's neighbours had requested that he be moved to secure accommodation, but all the housing association did was change his locks.
It was noted by a source in the criminal justice system that Albert Williams's murder had been given up on and that if he had been a literate, middle class dad, the situation would have been different with people making a noise and saying this it was not right.
The police noted that Albert Williams had been a virtual recluse.
Albert Williams was a retired gardener and was 5ft 2in. He was known for cross-dressing and it was heard that the local youths picked on him because of it.