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Irishman jailed for life over murder of woman in London

Michael Purcell told officers who found him covered in blood, “I killed the woman next door, just let me die.”

Image: Met Police

AN IRISHMAN HAS been jailed for a minimum of 23 years for stabbing a woman to death in her own home.

Michael Purcell, 53, was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of 49-year-old Imelda Molina. He will also serve a concurrent sentence of 42 months for the burglary.

Purcell, with an address at Ashford Court, NW2, London had been the victim’s tenant for over four years. He was convicted on 21 April after an 11-day trial at the Old Bailey.

The court heard how on 29 October 2015 Imelda’s partner had phoned her at around 6pm to say she was on her way home from work and was going to bring pizza.

But when she entered the flat at about 7:15, she noticed their bedroom door had been forced and she discovered Imelda’s body in the room.

Imelda had been subjected to a sustained and vicious assault and was pronounced dead at the scene. A post mortem examination found she had suffered 48 separate stab wounds.

‘I killed the woman next door’

The investigating officers went to Michael Purcell’s bedroom where they found him on the bed covered in blood.

He had a large cut to the left side of his neck and also had cuts to his wrists. As police officers and LAS staff started trying to save his life, Purcell said:

I killed the woman next door, just let me die.

He told officers he had used a Stanley knife to inflict his own injuries.

Purcell was arrested on suspicion of murder before being taken to hospital.

While at the hospital an officer recorded that he said: “I don’t know what came over me yesterday because she was a lovely lady.”

A search of Purcell’s room found it chaotic and littered with empty alcohol bottles. In his bedroom wardrobe a handbag belonging to Imelda’s partner was found containing approximately €1,300 in cash.

When Purcell had recovered from his injuries he was taken to a police station, but gave no explanation of what had happened. He was subsequently charged with Imelda’s murder.

Detective Inspector Jamie Stevenson of the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command, said:

We believe that the motive for the murder was financial. Enquires revealed Purcell had problems with alcohol and owed a large amount of money, but even he may not really understand why he carried out such a vicious and sustained assault.

“However, what we can all understand is how Purcell’s attack resulted Imelda’s life being stolen away from those who loved her.

“Purcell will now face the consequences of his actions; he is a dangerous man who carried out a ferocious attack and he has rightly been brought to account.”

Read: Gardaí make three arrests in 24 hours in gangland crackdown>

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