TWO elderly women were brutally strangled in their own homes in a quiet seaside resort by a former Wigan plumber turned taxi driver who had previously ferried them around.
Just two days earlier another pensioner customer had a miracle escape after killer Andrew Flood forced his way into her home and tore jewellery from her wrists. She lived simply because she did not resist.
Jailing the father-of-four for life with a minimum term of 30 years, a judge told him he had committed “unspeakable, wicked crimes.”
Judge Clement Goldstone, QC, the Recorder of Liverpool, told the 43-year-old private hire driver, who was an Orrell resident from 2007 to 2010: “I am satisfied you targeted them on account of their vulnerability, age and the fact they lived alone. You targeted them because you wanted to rob them of their money and jewellery in order to feed your dependency on alcohol and your addiction to gambling, which had cost you and your family to suffer financial hardship.”
Flood, more recently of Clifford Road, Southport, pleaded guilty to murdering 78-year-old Margaret Biddolph and 88-year-old Anne Leyland and robbing Maureen Suckley, 76, in her home.
Nicholas Johnson, QC, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court that Flood, who had a “financially chaotic lifestyle” and a gambling habit, throttled the two widows on February 20 this year - and then returned to a betting shop.
When his wife rang him just after he left the bookies he sounded “chirpy” but 42 minutes later he rang her and drunkenly confessed he had killed someone.
He then went to his local police station and pushed jewellery he had stolen from one of the murdered women and Mrs Suckley through a gap in the inquiry desk.
He was abusive and arrested for being drunk and disorderly but then told an officer he had killed two women and was arrested for that.
John McDermott, QC, defending, said: “There is no simple or rational explanation for why a man of previous good character, a family man, has committed these terrible crimes. This case will remain largely unexplained.”