A man has been convicted of killing Cheltenham pensioner Tony Swift.
A jury at Bristol Crown Court today found Lee McClatchley, 30 and of Barlow Road, Cheltenham, guilty of murder following a three week re-trial after a jury being unable to return a verdict either way in August 2016.
68-year-old Tony was killed by McClatchley at Tony's flat in Mendip Road at around midday on Monday 26 October 2015, before McClatchley stole Tony's cannabis and sold it on to others.
Senior Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Richard Pegler, said: "Tony’s death and the subsequent trials of Lee McClatchley have placed considerable strain and upset upon his family. A re-trial comes with great sorrow and pain and I am grateful for their patience and support throughout and my thoughts are with them at this time.
"The investigation was by no means straight forward and the weapon used has never been recovered. Over 18 months detectives have worked tirelessly gathering evidence in this case from a number of sources, the most crucial being the CCTV evidence that captured McClatchley’s movements and change of clothing that day. Mcclatchley told a series of lies which we were able to disprove; he lived each day ducking and diving as a Cannabis dealer, repeatedly lying to friends and customers and ripping them off at regular intervals.
"That day he was a desperate man seeking to put right a number of dodgy deals. I believe he saw Tony as a soft target and tried to rob him of his stash but it all went wrong in the flat and he battered Tony to death. The dedication and hard work of a small team of detectives since the trial last year has been exemplary. To have a ‘hung jury’ last year was bitterly disappointing but they have never given up to ensure that McClatchley was found guilty and a violent man removed from our community.
"I am extremely grateful to the Whaddon community, particularly those who have spoken out and supported us in our investigation. Many people would not be keen to stand up in a crown court and talk about using and buying cannabis but that is what many witnesses have done to make sure there was some justice for Tony and his family."
Tony's family have issued the following statement: "The family would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the police and the prosecution team for all they have done for us and for dad.
"We would also like to thank dad's neighbour who did all she could for dad on the day he died.
"We hope that rather than focus on how dad died and all that has entailed, everyone who knew and loved Tony will take a moment or two, every now and again, to remember him and to be thankful for him and the time we had with him."