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

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Leonard Head will serve a minimum of 25 years in prison. Leonard Head will serve a minimum of 25 years in prison.

A man who murdered his “trustful and welcoming” neighbour and pawned his property to buy drugs was jailed for life today.

Leonard Head, 50, of Grove Road in Walthamstow, will serve a minimum term of 25 years for killing Jeffrey Coombes in his home and then denying his murder.

Jeffrey Coombes, 51, better known as Jeff, had recently moved to the area and was in the process of decorating his flat when Head killed him last June.

His body was not discovered for three weeks.

Mr Coombes’ family said he had moved to the area shortly before his death and was looking forward to starting a new life.

“We still find it impossible to come to terms with it. No human being deserves to die in such a manner. The thought that someone abused Jeff's open and trustful nature is deeply painful,” a family statement said.

“Jeff was looking forward to moving into his new flat and described it as 'my place'. Jeff intended to decorate his flat to his own personal taste. Jeff would bore us senseless talking about it day and night.

“He looked forward to making new friends and told us that he always made sure that he bonded with neighbours and the local community as he felt he wanted to live in an environment where everyone looks out for each other.

“Jeff was not only a kind and caring person, but someone who wanted to help others and not expect anything back in return. Words cannot put into context our loss and unfortunately, never will.”

He was found on July 14 still holding an electric paint stripper.

A post-mortem gave the cause of death as head and facial injuries.

Detective Chief Inspector John Sandlin said; “Leonard Head has not accepted any responsibility for the murder of Jeff.

“He attacked Jeff, stole his property for money in order to feed his drug habit, and then laid low hoping that his crime would not be discovered, stating that he was oblivious to the smell of Jeff’s decomposing body in the flat opposite his, even thought it was described as empowering.

Head was found guilty on Tuesday.

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