A PENSIONER was murdered in her own home by burglars who wanted to prevent her identifying them, it was alleged in court yesterday.
Glynis Solmaz, 65, was choked in her own bedroom at Bryn Hafod in Caia Park, Wrexham, a jury at Mold Crown Court was told.
Prosecuting barrister Simon Medland QC said Mrs Solmaz was understood locally to have comparatively large amounts of cash, jewels and possessions – and she had a safe in the bedroom wall.
Four men, including the two defendants Alexandros Wetherill, 24, and Christopher Curran, 35, decided to steal her money and possessions in the safe, he alleged.
“Apart from being burgled – bad enough in itself – she paid dearly for the dishonest greed of the four men.
“She paid with her life and was left crumpled on the bedroom floor, injured and dying first, then finally dead.”
Her daughter, Paula Duckers, said she found her mother on the floor underneath the safe in her dressing gown. The was a hole in the wall where her safe had been and thousands of pounds worth of jewellery was missing.
Wetherill, of Plas Gwyn, Wrexham, and Curran, of Broom Avenue, Brymbo, have both deny murdering Mrs Solmaz.
The jury was told Wetherill, alleged by the prosecution to have inflicted the fatal neck injuries, has admitted an alternative manslaughter charge.
Both defendants, together with Mrs Solmaz’s former son-in-law Christopher Natt, 52, of North Road, Ponciau and David Lovell, 29, of Bloom Avenue, Brymbo, all admit conspiring to burgle her home.
Mr Medland alleged Wetherill and Curran exceeded the bounds of the criminal plan.
Both went to the house when she was in and she might have recognised Curran as he was a long-standing acquaintance.
“She needed to be dealt with,” he said.
“They needed to ensure she would not be able to give evidence against them.
“They needed to ensure she would not interfere with their plan to steal the safe.”
The prosecution allege Wetherill failed to remove the safe from the wall.
Knowing she was being restrained by Wetherill, Curran went to the house and removed the safe from the wall.
“Wetherill, a physically fit and strong young man, had already restrained Mrs Solmaz by choking her around the neck with his arm and she was already down on the floor.
“Wetherill had his foot on her head restraining her further.
“Curran did nothing to help Mrs Solmaz.”
He said the fact that she was restrained assisted their joint plan to steal the safe.
“In any event, Curran at least ran the risk of her recognising him and being a dangerous witness against him and the remaining defendants.”
Natt, her former son-in-law, had previously lived in the same house and had installed the safe in the first place.
It was alleged that Natt was the originator of the plan to steal the safe and believed Mrs Solmaz was well-off.
At about 11pm on February 18, the prosecution say Wetherill first went into the house.
Mr Medland said: “He was determined to get the safe. He tried to do so while struggling with Mrs Solmaz but could not get it off the wall.”
At about 11.30pm Curran sent a text to Wetherill asking about the delay.
Wetherill let him know of the problem and Curran went into the house.
He secured the removal of the safe while Wetherill carried on subduing Mrs Solmaz.
The prosecutor told the jury: “That the fatal injuries to Mrs Solmaz were caused by Wetherill alone does not in any way effect the culpability of Curran for the murder.
“Here were two men, part of a criminal team of burglars, involved directly in the crime.
“One directly physically assaulted her and the other did nothing to stop the assault, failed to alert the authorities, both men realising that the necessity of dealing with a householder was ‘an occupational hazard’ of the determined burglar.”
Mrs Solmaz certainly seemed to enjoy life, said Mr Medland. She had been left several legacies, none of which was perhaps a huge amount in itself, but collectively they added up to a tidy sum – between £30,000 and £50,000.
Mr Medland told the jury the defendants may claim that they had not expected her to be in at the time.
But he said burglars always ran the risk of occupants being home or returning home.
A post-mortem examination by Home Office pathologist Dr Jonathan Medcalf showed there was a fracture to the superior thyroid horn and bleeding around the bone and cartilage in the neck.
All of that was consistent with “significant and prolonged” pressure to the neck.
The prosecution case was that was done by Wetherill to subdue her while Curran removed the safe.
The cause of death was mechanical asphyxiation – that her neck was forcefully compressed and she was asphyxiated.
The trial, before Mr Justice John Griffith-Williams, is proceeding and is expected to last nearly two weeks.