Leonard Head, 50, murdered Jeffrey Coombes in his home in Grove Road, Walthamstow, and left his body to rot

Thief guilty of killing 'kind and caring' neighbour

Jeffrey Coombes, pictured, was discovered dead in his Grove Road, Walthamstow, flat by police officers on July 14.

Jeffrey Coombes' building in Grove Road, Walthamstow.

First published in News
Last updated
East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A thief who murdered his neighbour before pawning his TV, laptop and mobile phone is facing life behind bars.

Leonard Head, 50, of Grove Road in Walthamstow, was found guilty of battering “kind and caring” 51-year-old Jeffrey Coombes to death to fund his cocaine and heroin addiction.

Mr Coombes, who had been redecorating his new flat when he was attacked, was found dead three weeks after the attack still holding an electric paint stripper.

He had befriended Head after moving into a flat opposite his home, inviting him over for a fry-up and giving him £20.

A statement from Mr Coombes’ brother-in-law, Paul Nelson, said: “We still find it impossible to come to terms with and no human being deserves to die in such a manner.

“To think someone abused his open and trustworthy manner is awful.

“It will never bring back Jeff but might bring some comfort.

“Jeff was not only a kind and caring person but someone who wanted to help others and didn’t expect anything in return.”

Head, who also has 15 separate convictions for 33 offences including rape whilst burgling a home, had previously spent five years in prison.

Police did not initially believe Mr Coombes’ death was suspicious but a post-mortem revealed he had suffered a fractured skull and jaw.

Jurors were told his wallet and keys were missing but the front door showed no sign of forced entry.

He was murdered either on June 21 or 22 last year.

Police were called by Mr Nelson on July 14 when he noticed an odour coming from the flat.

Officers found Mr Coombes’ body in the main living area lying on an air bed.

Head was found guilty on Tuesday at Snaresbrook Crown Court and will be given a life sentence tomorrow when Judge David Radford will decide what the minimum term should be.

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