A vicious knife-wielding burglar, who stabbed to death the fifty-year resident of a smart home he raided, has been caged for life.
Joseph Griffiths, 72, (pic.top) was stabbed twenty-two times in his Hazlebury Road house in fashionable Fulham.
Aaron De Silva, 22, (pic.bottom) of Warwick Road, Earl's Court was convicted of murdering Mr. Griffiths during the early-morning break-in on November 9, 2012.
Detective Inspector Simon Pickford of the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: "De Silva is an extremely violent individual who had no hesitation in stabbing the victim repeatedly in a frenzied and brutal attack after he was disturbed having broken into Mr Griffiths' home.
"I must pay tribute to Mr Griffiths' family who have been left utterly devastated by what happened.
“They have conducted themselves with the utmost restraint and dignity throughout this tragic incident and my and my team's thoughts are with them."
The victim had enjoyed an evening out with his wife and visiting friends the night before and at around 6:20am one of the guests was awoken by a commotion and shouting that sounded like "get out" and "who are you?"
Downstairs they discovered the victim's wife sobbing and screaming and Mr Griffiths lying in the hallway on his back with his dressing gown covered in blood.
Police and the ambulance service were called, but Mr Griffiths was pronounced dead at the scene.
A post-mortem examination later revealed the businessman, who had two grown-up sons and seven grandchildren, died of multiple stab wounds.
Enquiries revealed a pair of bolt croppers had been stolen from a neighbouring garden shed overnight and the basement-level rear kitchen window of the Griffiths' home had been forced with the handle of the bolt croppers.
|Deadly: Murder Weapon|
De Silva had climbed over four garden walls and negotiated trellises and hedges to get to the back of the Griffiths' house.
He had then opened the back door ready for his escape.
The murder weapon (pictured) – a lock knife was found near the murder scene in Snowbury Road had a bloody handle that matched that of the victim.
A partial DNA profile matching De Silva was found on the handle.
CCTV showed De Silva back at his hostel around an hour after the murder listening to music, seemingly entirely unaffected by what he had just done.
He was arrested on November 13 and charged two days later.
In an impact statement the victim's son Mark said: "The murder of Joe in such a brutal and senseless manner has left a gaping hole not only in our immediate family but also the families of all who knew him.
"What should have been a happy Saturday get-together for the whole family was shattered by the numbing news of Joe's murder.
“Instead of coming together as a family to share a meal we were gathered together in very different circumstances that, even today over a year hence, does not seem real.
"Writing this some fifteen months after that dreadful day, those events were real and we as a family are living with the devastating consequences of that terrible act of violence.
“The sudden loss of Joe has caused severe stress among all family members and has especially hit his seven grandchildren.
"The whole family, and our circle of friends, still feel a deep sorrow and sense of loss since Joe's murder.
“Members of our family have had to deal with recurring nightmares, triggered by that fateful day.
“We can only hope that with the passage of time these nightmares and feelings will lessen.
"Judy (mum) took the brave decision to return to the house where her husband was murdered, trying to live her life as normally as possible.
“This is the house where she and Joe had lived for fifty years, where one of her children was born and where both sons were raised.
"An irreplaceable member of our thriving family business was lost.
Fifty years of business experience and acumen gone in a wanton act of mindless violence.
"He is, and will always be, sorely missed by everyone."