Saturday, 5 Dec 2020

Drug addict who killed a grandfather is jailed for at least 32 years

Drug addict, 42, who battered 88-year-old grandfather-of-eight to death at his Surrey home during ‘burglary gone wrong’ is jailed for at least 32 years

  • Darren McClean, 42, attacked Dennis Kellond, 88, at home in Godstone in April
  • Grandfather suffered devastating injuries and his body was found two days later
  • McClean initially denied the offence and tried to pin the blame on other people
  • He was today found guilty of murder and must serve a minimum of 32 years

Darren McClean (pictured above), 42, was found guilty of murder and must serve a minimum sentence of 32 years

A drug addict who battered a 88-year-old grandfather-of-eight to death at his home in Surrey during a ‘burglary gone wrong’ has been jailed for at least 32 years.

Darren McClean attacked Dennis Kellond at his home in Godstone on April 25, with the pensioner’s body being found two days later.

Following a trial that lasted less than a week at Guildford Crown Court, the 42-year-old killer was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. McClean must serve a minimum of 32 years.

The court heard today how Mr Kellond, a healthy and independent father and grandfather, was left for dead at his home after suffering devastating injuries.

McClean, of Lingfield, fled the scene after the murder and was later arrested. He initially denied the offence and tried to pin the blame on other people.

A pair of cufflinks belonging to Mr Kellond, purchased in 1959 and thought to have been an engagement present, were taken from the pensioner’s home and never found, but a picture of them was found on McClean’s partner’s phone. 

Victim impact statements were read to court by family members, who described the pain of the incident and the brutal circumstances in which their relative lost his life.

Both Mr Kellond’s adult children and grandchildren spoke of the unimaginable impact the murder had had on them, understandably having to hold back tears in court while doing so.

Daughter Kate Kellond said: ‘I last spoke to Dad on the Friday, the day before the attack. We laughed about Trump’s suggestion of injecting people with bleach.

‘We spoke about Captain Tom approaching his 100th birthday and reaching number one in the charts. He told me he thought 100 was too old.’


Dennis Kellond (pictured above), 88, was attacked at his home in Godstone, Surrey, on April 25. His family paid tribute to their much-loved relative and ‘captain’ of the family

Mr Kellond’s other daughter, Anne, said: ‘The fact that his life ended so violently and we were not able to protect him is completely unbearable.

‘It is so unfair that what gave him the most pleasure, living in his own home, should have made him a target for this attack.’

Peter Kellond, describing the moment he found his father dead, said: ‘He did not look like my dad, I could not do anything to fix the situation and it broke my heart.’

Several grandchildren told how they called Mr Kellond ‘Kipper’ and told the judge how their grandfather had missed his great-granddaughter’s first steps and would not attend two upcoming weddings.  

Also mentioned was how they did not get the chance to say goodbye to their much-loved relative and ‘captain’ of the family, and how fond memories of him would now always bring them back to the incident of his death.

and that his actions were ‘unprovoked and violent’, during a hearing that was attended by multiple members of the Kellond family.

He told the court that McClean had travelled to the Surrey village to find somewhere to break into and had been seen on CCTV for an hour until he decided upon Mr Kellond’s home.

Police searching the roads near the 88-year-old’s property following the murder in April. In court, Judge Jonathan Black said McClean had told a ‘catalogue of lies’

A police cordon pictured outside Mr Kellond’s home following the murder. McClean, of Lingfield, fled the scene after the murder and was later arrested

The drug-addicted killer used an ornamental frog to smash through some glass and unlock the front door, at which point he encountered and attacked the elderly occupant.

He then scoured the house for items to steal and came away with the pensioner’s mobile phone, wallet and a pair of gold cufflinks.

After leaving Mr Kellond without making any attempt to check on his injuries or contact emergency services, McClean left and used his victim’s phone to contact his drug dealer.

Summing up, Judge Black said that evidence showed how Mr Kellond had stumbled from the place of the attack into his kitchen, where his body was found by his son on April 27.

On day one of his trial, McClean finally admitted his part in the attack by entering a guilty plea to manslaughter. That was not accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service and the jury later convicted him of murder.

Following a trial that lasted less than a week at Guildford Crown Court, above, the 42-year-old was found guilty of murder. McClean was also sentenced for two counts of burglary (file photo)

McClean also refused to give evidence during the case, with Judge Black noting that meant only the killer would now know the exact details of what happened at the scene. 

Many had not seen him in person for a number of weeks as the elderly man was shielding during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Mr Kellond moved to his home in 1995 with his wife, Sylvia, and remained living there after her death in 2013. Following his murder, many members of the community paid tribute to him and how involved he was locally.

McClean was also sentenced for two counts of burglary, both of which he had pleaded guilty to. One related to the same incident as the murder and another to an incident in December 2018.

He also admitted three counts of fraud in relation to the 2018 offence and was given a concurrent sentence of nine months. For the burglaries he was handed concurrent sentences of three years for each.

Prior to the murder and those incidents, McClean had racked up 41 other appearances in court for 117 offences.

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