OAP murder blamed on flirting’ builder

PUBLISHED: 11:14 14 January 2010 | UPDATED: 17:30 25 August 2010

A BUILDER bludgeoned a pensioner to death and ransacked his home after tricking his way in, the Old Bailey heard

A BUILDER bludgeoned a pensioner to death and ransacked his home after tricking his way in, the Old Bailey heard.

Marcin Orlowski, 20, of no fixed address 'befriended and flirted' with 79-year-old Edward Highwood after discovering he was gay.

The Pole took advantage of Mr Highwood's 'gregarious and kind' nature at a homeless drop-in centre and returned to his Greenwich home, where he was offered a meal, jurors were told.

Once there, Orlowski repeatedly battered the pensioner over the head and face with a heavy glass vase, causing multiple skull fractures, the court heard on Monday.

Mr Highwood's death was 'rapid' but Orlowski carried out a prolonged search his victim's home the and stole the victim's property before leaving.

Prosecutor Victor Temple QC said: "This was a brutal and violent murder, principally carried out in the hope of financial gain.

"This was also a murder committed against a man who was vulnerable because of his advanced age and against a man who showed nothing but kindness to this defendant at a time when he was homeless."

Mr Highwood was found dead at his home in Hollymount Close, off Blackheath Road, Greenwich, on July 18 last year by his friend and former partner Ronald Bristow, who also shared the property.

The previous day Mr Highwood had invited Orlowski back to the house after meeting him at the 999 Club, a charitable drop-in centre in nearby Deptford Broadway.

Mr Highwood was openly homosexual and 'remained attracted to young men' despite his age, jurors were told.

"He was also described as a gregarious and kind man. He was generous towards the homeless and would regularly go to a drop-in centre," said the prosecutor.

Orlowski had arrived in south-east London only days before the killing because a fellow Pole had offered him shelter, work as a builder and introduced him to the 999 Club.

On July 17 Orlowski was at the drop-in centre and was told Mr Highwood was someone who 'on occasion would give money to the homeless'. He was also told the pensioner was gay.

Mr Temple told the court: "This defendant capitalised on the information and deliberately befriended Mr Highwood.

"He flirted with him and managed to get himself invited back to Mr Highwood's home, where he appears to have been offered a meal.

"It was there, on that afternoon, that the defendant murdered Mr Highwood by striking a number of heavy blows to his head with a glass vase."

Mr Highwood suffered numerous injuries to his head and face, resulting in a depressed skull fracture and fractures to the bones of his face.

The victim's 'well-kept, clean and neat household' was turned over and Orlowski immediately tried to sell some of the property.

Jurors heard a flatscreen computer monitor, a DVD player, 35 DVDs, 12 boxes of viagra, two watches and a gold bracelet were stolen.

Orlowski fled to to Brighton, but was arrested several days later. He denies murder.

The trial continues.

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