Baby-faced killer, 17, bludgeons OAP, 71, to death with clawhammer

Baby-faced killer, 17, who battered a pensioner, 71, to death with a clawhammer in his own home to steal £620 in cash is jailed for 20 years

  • Killer Cameron Cruddace bludgeoned Richard Percival 12 times to the face 
  • Teen left pensioner for dead at his Newton-le-Willows home in Merseyside
  • He was jailed for life with a minimum of 20 years at Liverpool Crown Court today 

Cameron Cruddace, 17, was jailed for life at Liverpool Crown Court

A 17-year-old boy who battered a pensioner to death with a clawhammer in the victim’s own home has been jailed for life.   

Cameron Cruddace struck Richard Percival, 71, at least 12 times in a frenzied attack, before rifling through his pockets and stealing £620.

The teenager, of Newton-le-Willows, who bragged he was ‘born to kill’, admitted smashing in his victim’s skull and taking the cash, which he spent on cocaine.

But he claimed he ‘flipped’ after Mr Percival sexually assaulted him and was only guilty of manslaughter, due to loss of self-control.

A jury had unanimously found him guilty of murder, after only three hours of deliberation, following a trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

Today Judge Alan Conrad QC locked him up for life, with a minimum of 20 years behind bars, for the ‘brutal and vicious’ killing.

He said: ‘You told numerous lies – both before and during your trial. Mr Percival was not here to refute your assertions against him.

‘I am sure that there is nothing in your account of sexual abuse or approaches by your victim.

‘You never told anybody about it before the killing – neither your friends nor your sister, to whom you were particularly close.

‘Furthermore, on your account Mr Percival, having made a particularly serious advance to you in early 2017, you chose to go back to his house six months later.

‘These allegations were invented by you after the murder to provide some justification for what you did.’

Friends said the pensioner, who lived alone in Newton-le-Willows, was a ‘club legend’ who helped run Vulcan FC, who he played for in his youth.

The killer teen struck Richard Percival, 71, at least 12 times in a frenzied attack at his home (pictured) in Newton-le-Willows

Both his family and pals said they were deeply upset by the false accusations ‘cowardly’ Cruddace tried to rely on to excuse his guilt.

Nigel Power, QC, prosecuting, said: ‘There is just no information or intelligence at all that Mr Percival ever acted in this way.’

The teen bludgeoned the pensioner with the hammer, which he later disposed of along with his clothes, on August 17 last year.

The boy’s attack was so ferocious that forensic experts found blood on the living room ceiling of the victim’s home in Dixon Avenue.

Judge Conrad said: ‘He was a decent, harmless and well-liked man, who kept to himself and loved sport.

Mr Percival (shown in his younger days) was described as a ‘decent, harmless and well-liked man, who kept to himself and loved sport’

‘He let you into his home for conversation and to allow you to earn some money doing odd jobs.

‘He was small in stature and slightly built and in no position to resist the vicious and sustained armed attack.’

A friend of the teen said Cruddace turned up at his flat in the early hours of August 19 – bragging about ‘murdering a nonce’.

He said Cruddace boasted: ‘I think I’m born to kill’…what sort of person wakes up in the morning planning to kill someone?’

The man, who died since making the chilling statement, told detectives: ‘He was excited, he was happy. He was bouncing off the ceiling saying “I have murdered someone I have murdered someone”.

‘He was making me feel physically sick. He asked me to go to the address and look through the window, he was saying “I will show you lad, I will show you I have killed this person”.’

He also said the teenager made comments about getting an erection and wanting to ‘go back and jump all over his head’.

Cruddace told his sister: ‘I’ve killed a paedophile, the guy that’s tried to touch me for two years, I’ve bashed his head in with a hammer.’

However Mr Power said: ‘He told the police he went back for money more than once, he told [psychiatrist] Dr Mehta he thought the charge was a robbery gone wrong…’

Judge Conrad said Cruddace launched the murderous attack on Mr Percival in order to steal from him in a ‘murder for gain’.

John McDermott, QC, defending, said his mildly autistic client told him: ‘There’s no point in being sorry because it’s not going to affect things.’

Cruddace admitted to killing the pensioner but said it was because the 71-year-old made sexual advances on him

The judge said he took into account Cruddace’s ‘unsettled’ lifestyle, medical conditions of ADHD and Conduct Disorder, plus his ‘slight autism’.

However, he said: ‘The way in which you were living at this time was largely your own choice.

‘I saw and heard your mother and your sister in evidence, both impressive witnesses who, while doing their duty as witnesses in court, made it clear that they had extended support to you.

‘Many people have anti-authoritarian views and are prone to behave impulsively, but fortunately the vast majority exercise restraint and do not resort to violence, let alone the extreme violence seen in this case.’

Cruddace, who until today could not be identified for legal reasons, showed no emotion as he was sent down. 

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