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Life for brandy bottle killer of ‘fun-loving’ grandad in Tufnell Park

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Anthony Rooks, 80, was attacked with a brandy bottle by Sable Thomas during the first lockdown.

Trinidad-born Mr Rooks, a “fun-loving” grandfather, collapsed with a head injury at home in Dalmeny Road, Tufnell Park, north London on the evening of May 4, 2020.

His wife of 46 years died on April 14 after battling ill health for almost a year, Wood Green Crown Court heard on Friday.

Her funeral was due to take place on May 7, but the tragic widower didn’t get the chance to go.

Mr Rooks suffered multiple blunt force trauma to his head and face which was so ferocious part of his ear detached.

His neighbour and friend Thomas, 43, admitted manslaughter by virtue of diminished responsibility.

He must serve a minimum of eight years in jail before applying for parole.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Rooks’ granddaughter said: “Little did we know that three days before our nan’s funeral, this horrific tragedy would rock our world and change our lives forever.

Police and forensic officers in Dalmeny Road, Tufnell Park

/ London 999

“Our biggest question is why anyone would want to hurt such a loving, funny, giving and caring old man, especially to that extent?

“As a result of grandad’s death, we are living in a constant nightmare thinking about the house in which we shared so much happy memories.

“Grandad’s home was our safe place to go to. There is a feeling that our entire childhood memories and lives have been ruined.

“We see things like this in the movies and have never envisage it could happen to us.

“We have experienced the harsh reality of evil that exists and that anybody, even a friend, is capable of absolutely anything.

“He had so much more to give in his life. His plans to go back to his native homeland of Trinidad was not realised.

“We did not get to say goodbye – it feels like we are already serving a life sentence as there is nothing that will bring him back or ease the pain of his loss.

“To say our hearts have been broken would be an understatement.

“There will always be a hole in our hearts, but we are hoping for some closure so we can try to live somewhat of a normal life.”

Officers arrived after receiving a 999 call from Mr Rooks’ daughter who discovered his body.

They spoke to Thomas who behaved unusually and laughed manically.

Police noticed blood spots on the walls and a bed. A bloody bucket and mop was used by Thomas to clean up the scene.

While in custody, he asked officers, ‘Is this how you normally treat murderers?’

Thomas later asked the arresting officer, ‘Can I ask who I murdered?’

He stated that he suffered from mental health issues and that he had been previously supplied medication but had stopped taking it as it did not agree with him.

Detective Sergeant Brian Jones, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: “This is an absolutely heartbreaking case where a much-loved grandad was killed in the most brutal way by his friend and neighbour who was suffering from a mental health issue.

“Anthony being killed in such a traumatic way was absolutely devastating for his family, who were already grieving for Anthony’s wife – their mother and grandmother.

“They suddenly found themselves having to plan for not one, but two funerals, during the midst of a pandemic.

“Thomas also robbed Anthony of his chance to say a proper goodbye to his much-loved wife of 46 years.

“I would like to commend Anthony’s family for the bravery and dignity they have shown throughout the investigation and court process. I do hope that Thomas’ sentencing gives them the closure that they want and deserve.”

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