A violent and callous burglar from Headcorn who tied up and assaulted a pensioner inside her own home has been sentenced to life in jail.
Billy Williams gagged and bound his elderly victim so tightly she remained secured to a chair for more than two days and was only discovered after worried relatives called police.
The ordeal began at around 6.00pm on Sunday 4 April 2021, when the victim initially noticed Williams acting suspiciously next to her property, in an area close to Maidstone.
Williams, aged 29, of Smarden Road, Headcorn was unknown to the victim and asked for water after claiming he had lost a bottle from his bike. The victim provided him with water as he stood outside a gate, but as she made her way back inside he leapt over the gate and forced his hand over her mouth whilst holding a chisel to her neck.
Williams made repeated demands for money and valuables and forced the victim into several rooms of her home. He picked up a knife and held it to the victim’s face and abdomen, threatening to kill her. She was also sexually assaulted.
After ransacking the house, Williams tightly bound the victim to a chair using wiring and tape across her hands, ankles and neck. Her mouth was also bound and stuffed with material, leaving her unable to shout for help and struggling to breathe. He then doused the victim with alcohol from bottles in her living room, before leaving with money and possessions including a laptop and other personal items, as well as a suit protector case to carry them in.
On Tuesday 6 April, Kent Police received a call expressing concerns from someone who had been unable to contact the victim. An officer attended her home during the evening and found an entrance to the property was open. The victim was found gagged and tied to the chair, which had fallen onto its side. She was dehydrated and had suffered cuts and bruises to her face and body.
An investigation was carried out by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate. This included a police media appeal which led to a witness coming forward who identified Williams at an identification parade, having seen him in the local area on the same day as the burglary.
The victim’s property was forensically examined and Williams’ DNA was detected on a sherry bottle used to douse the victim in alcohol. CCTV footage was also recovered which showed him riding a bicycle and carrying a suit protector case which matched one stolen from the victim’s home. It appeared to contain several bulky items.
Williams was arrested on 20 April. He admitted he was the person shown in CCTV images with the bike, but claimed he was carrying ‘an awning’ which he had found in a hedge.
Officers charged him with counts of aggravated burglary, false imprisonment and sexual assault. He was further charged with a separate and unrelated burglary, which was carried out on the same day.
Williams denied any wrongdoing and the case went to trial at Maidstone Crown Court, where he was found guilty on all counts by a unanimous verdict. During the trial, on 13 December 2021, he tried to escape from custody and forced his way to a main exit but was pursued by a police officer and wrestled to the ground with the assistance of a court officer.
He pleaded guilty to additional charges of escaping from lawful custody and two counts of assaulting an emergency worker. He also admitted assaulting an inmate in March 2020, when he was a prisoner in HMP Peterborough.
Williams was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on Friday 8 April 2022, to life in jail and ordered to serve a minimum of 18 years.
Senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Neil Kimber, said: ‘Williams targeted a vulnerable woman living on her home and subjected her to a truly terrifying ordeal. He beat, threatened and cruelly tormented his victim and then left her bound to a chair, knowing there was every chance she could die unless someone came to her aid.
‘Williams is an extremely dangerous individual, with a history of violent offending. He hasn’t shown a flicker of remorse for the suffering he has caused to his victim, who clearly stood no chance of defending themselves and sadly will have to endure the psychological impact of his despicable actions for the rest of her life. Today’s sentence will at least ensure he remains behind bars for a significant amount of time.’