Cory Youlden | Courtesy West Mercia Police

From West Mercia Police:

A man who murdered a pensioner while burgling his home at Rednal, North Worcestershire, was today (Monday, 27 February) given a life sentence when he appeared at Worcester Crown Court.

Cory Youlden broke into the home of 83-year-old Paul Cox in June last year (2011) and strangled him to death before taking keys from the body and stealing his car from the driveway along with groceries and a small amount of cash.

Youlden, aged 23 (Date of Birth 18/6/1988), care of HMP Hewell and formerly of Birmingham, appeared for sentencing before Judge Robert Juckes QC who gave him a life term with a recommendation that he should serve a minimum 22 years before being considered for release.

Youlden had initially denied the offence but changed his plea to guilty at a hearing earlier this month. He had previously admitted burgling Mr Cox’s home at Waseley Road on the same occasion on 3 June and stealing his Ford Focus which was found burned out in Erdington, Birmingham, two days later (5 June).

He was given concurrent sentences of five years each for the burglary and the car theft.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Williamson, who led the investigation for West Mercia Police, said that Mr Cox lived alone and was just days short of his 84th birthday (7 June) when he was murdered.

Mr Cox was worried about being burgled following previous break-ins at his home and slept downstairs in a chair in a living room at the back of the house. He was attacked when Youlden, then living a ten-minute walk away in Frankley, broke in during the night through a front window.

DCI Williamson said: “Mr Cox was a frail old man who was defenceless and stood no chance against a man some 60 years younger. He was strangled by Youlden and also received head injuries during the assault.

“Mr Cox always kept his car keys on him and we believe Youlden took those and cash from his victim before stealing his Ford Focus from the driveway along with a groceries which were in the vehicle.”

Police were alerted next morning by a concerned neighbour who noticed a smashed window at Mr Cox’s property and that his car was missing from the driveway.

A Major Incident Room was set up by detectives at Redditch Police Station and details of the stolen car were circulated as part of a media appeal. That led to a woman coming forward the following day, Saturday 4 June, to say she knew Youlden had been in possession of the car. Youlden had in fact already sold on the vehicle and it was found burned out in a car park at The Gardens in Erdington on Sunday, 5 June.

DCI Williamson said: “We launched a manhunt after Youlden went on the run and later that same day (5 June) he was caught by police on a train at Bristol’s Parkway station.

“From the outset he was deceitful, callous and calculated. He desperately tried to cover his tracks by trying to clean up at the murder scene we were still able to establish he had been there through our forensic work which included matching fingerprints and footprints to him. He also had a cut on his arm which was consistent with him climbing through the broken window at Mr Cox’s house.

“His deceit carried on after his arrest when he implicated two other people who were arrested on suspicion of murder but later eliminated from the inquiry.

“Youlden has never shown any remorse and even lied to his partner at the time to conceal his involvement. However the weight of evidence stacked up against him was overwhelming and finally he realised it was futile to deny responsibility for the death.

“The tragic and brutal killing of a vulnerable man who was loved by his family and popular with his neighbours was all the more senseless because Youlden gained very little from his crime.

“It was a despicable offence and the seriousness of that is reflected by the sentence. He fully deserves to be behind bars for a very long time.

“Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to Mr Cox’s family who have lost a father, grandfather and brother. They miss him and have been deeply affected by this. We hope that the fact that his killer has been brought to justice provides them with some small measure of comfort.

“Hopefully it will also reassure the wider community that as rare as offences like this are, when they do happen we will act robustly and spare no effort in ensuring those responsible are brought before the courts and made to pay for their crimes.”

Victim Paul Cox | Courtesy of West Mercia Police

A statement by Mr Cox’s family said: “Paul Cox was found murdered at his home on 3 June, 2011, four days before his 84th birthday.  Before his death Paul had been living independently, and was still able to drive and do his own shopping. Still able to enjoy life, have a pint, watch sport on TV and spend time with his family.

“There is no reason to think that he would not be with us now if it was not for the vile actions of another person.

“Paul was the victim of a brutal, cowardly and senseless crime carried out by an individual 60 years younger. The perpetrator gained nothing from taking a human life but his son and daughter lost a loving father, his granddaughter and grandson lost their devoted granddad, a brother lost his last surviving sibling, nieces and nephews lost their uncle whilst others lost a loyal, true and caring friend. It’s they who feel they have the life sentence.

“The family would like to thank West Mercia Police for their commitment to finding Paul’s murderer and bringing him to justice.

“Cory Youlden was apprehended swiftly and has received all the consideration that the Law has to offer after eventually pleading guilty to murder.  It is hoped that the custodial sentence passed by the court today will ensure that he takes responsibility for what he has done and is unable to harm anyone else for a very long time.

“As Paul’s family and friends continue to try to come to terms with what has happened they ask the Press and other media to respect their privacy at this most difficult and distressing of times.

“Thank you.”

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Read more on the Paul Cox murder on B31 Voices

The story elsewhere:

The Independent

Huffington Post

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