Drug addict, 44, murdered ex-soldier, 74, who put a roof over her head then celebrated his death by dancing naked in the street before shaving her head and dressing as him to withdraw his remaining cash

A drug addict who murdered a former soldier in his own home before celebrating his death by dancing naked in the street has been pictured for the first time.

Sarah Hansford, 44, befriended and preyed upon 74-year-old Barry Spooner before fleecing him of his life savings, stabbing him to death and dumping his body in the cellar of his Nottingham flat.

Nottingham Crown Court heard how a day after killing Mr Spooner, Hansford was caught on CCTV dancing naked in the street in celebration before later shaving her head and dressing up as him to withdraw the remaining cash he had.

The killer pleaded guilty to murder on Monday and was handed a life sentence with a minimum of 22 years.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Spooner’s nephew Darren McMahon said: ‘Barry would go out of his way to help anyone and I will forever be haunted at the thought of his last moments and tortured knowing he would have been unable to defend himself. 

‘I will never forgive his killer in the way she has dehumanised him in the most vile way.’ 

Sarah Hansford (pictured), 44, mercilessly stabbed popular pensioner Barry Spooner more than 30 times in his neck before dumping the 74-year-old’s body in the cellar. She then shaved her head to try and impersonate him at his bank

After Mr Spooner (pictured) had offered Hansford a roof over her head, she repaid his kindness fleecing him of thousands of pounds of life savings to fund her Class A drug habit

The hearing was told how Mr Spooner took pity on the defendant in 2020 and allowed her to stay at his flat in Gladstone Street, Forest Fields.

But on May 24 this year, she inflicted more than 30 stab wounds on Mr Spooner at the flat before pushing him into the cellar and covered his dead body with cardboard. 

He was found dead almost two weeks later on June 7 after concerns were raised about his welfare.

The next morning she was seen dumping bags of rubbish in a bin which was collected by council refuse workers and later that same day she tried to rob a local store armed with a knife.

In the days that followed Hansford, of Coalville, Leicestershire, then twice visited his bank dressed as a man and armed with paperwork to withdraw money. 

For the next two weeks, she carried on living at the property knowing her victim’s body was in the cellar.

After being arrested and charged, she later told a psychiatrist ‘I knew what I was doing, I did it, I’m not sorry, he deserved to die’. 

She claimed she had earlier discovered he had paedophilic tendencies and that she had been raped as a child. 

Jailing her for life with a minimum of 22-and-a-half years, Judge Nirmal Shant KC said: ‘No one else knows how he really met his death and your accounts have been inconsistent.

Mr Spooner took pity on the defendant in 2020 and allowed her to stay at his flat in Gladstone Street (pictured), Forest Fields. She then fleeced him of his money and brutally killed him

‘You later said you could not remember how many times you stabbed him, you said you tried to drown him and strangle him and what did you do afterwards? 

‘You unceremoniously dumped his body in the cellar and the day after you did that, you danced naked in the street.

‘In his victim impact statement, his nephew said ‘he spent those last minutes on this earth with a vile person, the very worst of humanity’, that’s the impact you’ve had on the family of Mr Spooner. You told lie after lie to get your hands on that money.’

The killer also pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation and possession of a knife in a public place.  

Hansford also admitted a further count of attempted robbery – relating to an incident at a store in Forest Fields on May 26. She threatened a shop worker with a knife and tried to grab the till from the counter before leaving the store, police said.

Mr Spooner’s sister, Valerie McMahon, described him as ‘a wonderful human being who was well-loved.’ 

Detective Chief Inspector Clare Dean, of the East Midlands Special Operations Unit, said: ‘CCTV footage showed Mr Spooner leaving his flat home on 25 May 2023 to buy items at a local shop. After this, he did not leave his home again alive.

‘Around 2020, Hansford befriended him. She had been staying with him and cruelly took advantage of him before brutally murdering him.

‘This was a chilling and savage case and Hansford is clearly a very dangerous individual. 

‘I’d like to commend Mr Spooner’s family for the dignity and strength that they have shown during our investigation and hope they can draw some comfort from this sentence.’

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