Died 22nd November 2012
Rhoda Youson (57) was stabbed and beaten to death on 22nd November 2012 at her home in Nuneaton, Coventry in the West Midlands. Her body was found on 24th November.
Anthony Hall (48), of no fixed address, was convicted of Ms Youson’s murder in July and on 5th September 2013 was sentenced to life imprisonment. He will serve at least 21 years before any possibility of parole. A jury rejected his claim of diminished responsibility due to mental disability.
Ms Youson was a mother and grandmother of seven. She was described as a generous woman who cooked meals for, and gave money to, homeless people and street drinkers – including the man who killed her.
Birmingham Crown Court heard Hall attacked Ms Youson in the early hours of 20th November, beating her around the head with a baseball bat and repeatedly stabbing her in the face with a garden pitchfork. Afterwards he used her cash card to buy a takeaway meal. Ms Youson was described as unrecognisable after the attack.
Warwickshire Police said Ms Youson had been “ferociously attacked” in her bed. She had massive injuries to her head and there was nothing left of her facial area. Blood was splattered on the walls.
Judge Patrick Thomas said Hall had shown “a complete willingness to destroy a life”.
He added “The reality of this case is that the lady whom you killed was small, frail and ill. She was a lady who demonstrated to the end of her days – to others but also to you – levels of generosity and care that are apparent to all. I am satisfied that the motive for this was your desire to have her bank card so that you could use it, as you did.”
Two days after the attack, Hall told a friend – who reported him to the police – that he had bashed “someone with a pitchfork”. Hall was later arrested and officers forced their way into Ms Youson’s flat. The pitchfork was later found tossed aside in a car park along with a carrier bag containing the broken bat.
After the case, Ms Youson’s family issued a statement through Warwickshire Police: “Rhoda Youson had a heart of gold and would always help others without being asked.
She was kind and generous to her friends offering support, food, shelter, shower and clean clothes when needed just as Anthony Hall knew after she walked him to hospital despite not being in the best of health herself. Words alone can not describe how we are feeling or how we’ve managed to function on a daily basis, and we would never, ever want any other family to go through what we have gone through over the last nine months. She is greatly missed by her daughters and grandchildren, her sisters, mother and friends.”
Note: This report was drawn from reports in the BBC, Daily Mail and Coventry Telegraph.