Moment police snare prolific burglar who battered retired midwife to death

13 January 2020, 11:24 | Updated: 13 January 2020, 14:20

By Megan White

A prolific burglar who battered an elderly woman to death before setting fire to her home has been jailed for 31 years.

Aaron Fyle murdered Eulin Hastings, a 74-year-old retired midwife, after breaking into her house in South Norwood, south east London.

He smashed his way through her back door using a rock before attacking the grandmother on 10 January 2017.

Eulin Hastings (left) was murdered in her south London home by Aaron Fyle
Eulin Hastings (left) was murdered in her south London home by Aaron Fyle. Picture: Metropolitan Police

The 29-year-old left her body at the bottom of the stairs before starting a fire nearby and leaving the property.

Fyle then broke into another home nearby, forcing a mother and her baby to flee and call police.

Officers interrupted him and pursued him across rooftops and through gardens before he was forced to surrender.

Retired midwife Eulin Hastings, 74
Retired midwife Eulin Hastings, 74. Picture: Metropolitan Police

He gave a false name, but was later identified as Aaron Fyle, and officers quickly linked the two incidents.

Detectives were able to locate CCTV that showed Fyle walking in the direction of Ms Hastings’ home at 1.31pm and walking away just over an hour later.

Later CCTV evidence then placed Fyle at the second home around 3pm.

His DNA was recovered from underneath Ms Hastings’ fingernails and her DNA was found on the jacket Fyle was wearing when he was arrested.

Fyle was convicted of murder on Thursday, and was jailed for 31 years at the Old Bailey the following day.

Detective Chief Inspector Richard Leonard, of Specialist Crime (Homicide), said: “Eulin Hastings was a retired nurse, well liked in the local community and an active member of the church.

Aaron Fyle, 29, was a prolific burglar
Aaron Fyle, 29, was a prolific burglar. Picture: Metropolitan Police

“Her life had been spent looking after others and it is tragic that such a caring person should have been murdered in her own home, a place where she should have been safe.

“In contrast Fyle is a serial offender with an horrendous criminal record. This predator roamed the streets browsing homes to identify targets for larceny.

“He was a prolific offender and, after committing an offence would carry on roaming the streets looking for the next target to burgle.

“I have no doubt he burgled this poor woman’s home, fatally assaulted her and then set her home on fire to cover up his actions.

“It shows the depth of this man’s depravity that just a short while later, he was burgling another home.

“Fyle has shown no remorse whatsoever and I am thankful that he has been convicted and the long sentence is fully justified.”

Ms Hastings’ family said: "There is no waking from this nightmare it continues every moment - it disturbs our sleep and disrupts our daily lives.

"Our mother was a pillar within the community and spent her life helping others. She was loved by everyone who knew her.

"Mum worked as a midwife for over 30 years delivering 100s of babies at St Thomas’s and St George’s Hospitals.

“Our mother’s final moments will play on our minds and these thoughts will haunt us for the rest of our lives.

"Aaron Fyle you are a parasite who has preyed on vulnerable people who have worked hard for their possessions.

"We believe you to be an evil, monstrous individual who killed a defenceless elderly woman, our mother. You destroyed our family home and all our mother’s treasured belongings and possessions.

"You, Aaron Fyle, have destroyed our lives, you have taken away our beautiful mother and grandmother’s precious life, leaving us with only her badly burnt body lying naked on the floor of her home.”

Happening Now