A JURY has found a 28-year-old man guilty of the charge of murdering a much-loved pensioner at his home.

Leighton Snook allegedly unleashed an attack on 83-year-old Donald Ralph at his home in Aldham before stealing a rifle and a shotgun and making his getaway in his victim's car.

A jury was told he enlisted the help of a 16-year-old boy, from Leicester, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

The pair appeared before Judge Martyn Levett at Ipswich Crown Court this afternoon as the jury had reached its verdict.

Snook was found guilty of the charge of murdering Mr Ralph and also found guilty to the charge of burglary.

The teenager was found not guilty of murder, however the jury found him guilty of manslaughter.

Snook also admitted stealing a Mercedes from Colchester and an Audi from Kesgrave Cars last December.

The teenager admitted burglary.

Speaking after the verdicts were announced, Detective Chief Inspector Scott Egerton, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said:

“This was a horrific attack on an elderly man in his own home by a distant family member and his accomplice. 

“Leighton Snook and his 16-year-old friend went to Donald’s home with the intention of stealing his property for their own gain. 

“We will never know exactly what happened inside his home that day, but Donald’s death was completely needless and these offenders will receive the punishment this violent act deserves. 

“Our thoughts remain with Donald’s family and friends, who have lost a much loved relative and friend. 

“Despite extensive enquiries, we have yet to recover the stolen firearms and we ask anyone with information on their whereabouts to contact us or Crimestoppers.”

Prosecutors alleged Snook, of no fixed abode, enlisted the boy's help to rob Mr Ralph in order to make some quick cash to clear a drugs debt.

It is alleged that while at the property, Snook strangled family friend Mr Ralph, while his teenage accomplice acted as a lookout and back-up.

The pair stole two guns before making their escape in Mr Ralph’s car, a court heard.

Snook denied murder, burglary and theft of a motor vehicle insisting Mr Ralph allowed him to borrow his car “for a day or two”.

Sentencing is due to take place on October 1.