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Life term for drifter William Cummins who battered Jackie Harrison to death
11:30am Friday 14th December 2012 in News
A 52-YEAR-OLD drifter has been jailed for life for the murder of a woman in her Worcester flat.
The jury delivered its unanimous verdict two-and-a-half hours after being sent out at the end of a month-long trial.
The jury decided he battered the 48-year-old and was in the flat with her while she took up to two hours to die from her injuries.
He then stayed in the flat with her body for up to two days before going on the run.
Cummins was not in court to hear sentence passed. Judge Robert Juckes ordered him to be taken down to the cells after a series of outbursts.
He seemed shocked and looked around the court in disbelief after the verdict.
Cummins said that not all the evidence had been heard and when the judge said he would be taken down if he could not keep quiet he said: “I’m going down for something I did not do anyway.”
As he went to the cells, he shouted “bunch of idiots” at the court.
The judge apologised to the jury for the abuse and said they had reached a “perfectly proper” verdict.
He said Cummins had given Mrs Harrison a “savage beating”. Most of her ribs were broken, her jawbone was separated and she had broken bones in her eye.
“She must have been alive and suffering and he did nothing,” the judge said, adding that it was possible she could have survived if she had reached hospital.
Her rapid decline to death might have taken him by surprise, the judge said, and he may not have realised the full extent of her injuries because he was drunk.
But the beating was so savage the injuries were described in court as the equivalent of a high speed traffic accident.
After her death, he stayed in the flat, uncertain what to do until the neighbours returned two days later.
Cummins, who told the court he had been on a Marine training course in the Territorial Army and had been trained to kill with his bare hands, left Worcester on March 28 and went to Birmingham before heading south to disappear in the vagrant life he was used to.
The judge said the court had heard a lot about his life story but it probably could not all be believed.
Richard Bensdon QC, defending, said Cummins had not used a weapon in the attack and it had not been premeditated. He had not intended to kill his victim, he added.
Peter Grice, prosecuting, said Cummins had a number of convictions for assault and other violent offences.
A father-of-three, he had been working as a roofer until an injury to his leg 20 years ago caused him to give up his job and split up with his wife.