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Burglar admits sexually assaulting and murdering 89-year-old widow in her own home

Dorothy Woolmer death: Man admits murder and sexual assault

A 23-year-old man has admitted murdering and sexually assaulting an 89-year-old widow in her own bed.

Dorothy Woolmer, known as Dot, was found dead with severe injuries at her home in Waltheof Gardens in Tottenham, north London, on 5 August. 

Reece Dempster, from Haringey, had smoked crack before breaking into her house, the Old Bailey heard. 

Dempster had admitted manslaughter but denied murder and sexual assault. He will be sentenced on Thursday.

Mrs Woolmer’s family said her death had “brought extreme amounts of heartache and stress”.

In a statement they said: “She was taken from us in such a cruel way.

“Dot was a wonderful, beautiful woman. She was independent and was so full of life. Family was everything to her and she was everything to us.”

Reece Dempster
Reece Dempster faces life in prison and will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on 6 February

The prosecution decided not to proceed on a count of rape following Dempster’s plea change part way through his trial. He admitted two counts of sexual assault by penetration.

The court heard that Mrs Woolmer, who had been widowed in 2017, after 64 years of marriage, died as the result of “multiple blunt trauma injuries”.

Jurors were told that Dempster is 6ft 3in (190cm) tall, while Ms Woolmer was 4ft 11in (150cm) tall and weighed less than eight stone (51kg).

Dempster, who was caught on CCTV fleeing the scene, had spent about seven hours in Mrs Woolmer’s home after breaking in through a back door on the night of 3 August, the prosecution said.

Dempster later told his former partner that on the night of the attack he had been at his father’s house “smoking crack and drinking three or four bottles of gin”, the trial was told.

“I went off and I went to rob a house; I think I hurt someone,” he is said to have told her.

The prosecution said Dempster had been “casing” the house for several days and knew it was occupied by a vulnerable older person.