'Fun-loving' grandad bludgeoned to death by neighbour 3 days before late wife's funeral

8 April 2022, 23:33 | Updated: 8 April 2022, 23:55

Anthony Rooks, 80, was killed at his home in Islington.
Anthony Rooks, 80, was killed at his home in Islington. Picture: Met Police

By Sophie Barnett

A "fun-loving" grandad was bludgeoned to death by his neighbour in north London just three days before the funeral of his late wife.

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Anthony Rooks, 80, was brutally killed by his neighbour and friend, suffering multiple blunt force traumas to his head and face.

He was beaten so ferociously by Sable Thomas, 43, of Dalmeny Road, N7, that part of his ear was bludgeoned away, the Metropolitan Police said.

The 80-year-old, who was grieving the loss of his wife of 46 years, was killed three days before he was set to lay his beloved wife to rest.

Anthony's daughter, who was staying at her father’s flat, was woken by the sound of him being bludgeoned to death in Thomas' flat.

She heard raised voices, banging and then silence and so she went to investigate, which is when she found her father injured outside the front door.

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Investigating officers went to see Thomas who “laughed manically” and found spots of blood on his walls and bed as well as a bloody mop bucket and he was arrested on suspicion of murder.

While in custody, Thomas stated that he suffered from mental health issues and that he had been previously supplied medication but had stopped taking it.

He pleaded guilty to manslaughter by virtue of diminished responsibility at the same court, Wood Green Crown Court, on November 26 2021.

He was jailed for life today, to serve a minimum of eight years before he can apply for parole.

In a victim impact statement, Anthony’s granddaughter said: “Little did we know that three days before our nan’s funeral, this horrific tragedy would rock our world and change our lives forever. Our biggest question is why anyone would want to hurt such a loving funny giving and caring old man, especially to that extent?

“As a result of grandad’s death, we are living in a constant nightmare thinking about the house in which we shared so much happy memories. Grandad’s home was our safe place to go to. There is a feeling that our entire childhood memories and lives have been ruined.

“We see things like this in the movies and have never envisage it could happen to us. We have experienced the harsh reality of evil that exists and that anybody, even a friend, is capable of absolutely anything.

“He had so much more to give in his life. His plans to go back to his native homeland of Trinidad was not realised. We did not get to say goodbye, it feels like we are already serving a life sentence as there is nothing that will bring him back or ease the pain of his loss. To say our hearts have been broken would be an understatement. There will always be a hole in our hearts, but we are hoping for some closure so we can try to live somewhat of a normal life.”

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Detective Sergeant Brian Jones, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command described it as a "heartbreaking" case.

"A much-loved grandad was killed in the most brutal way by his friend and neighbour who was suffering from a mental health issue," he said.

“Anthony being killed in such a traumatic way was absolutely devastating for his family, who were already grieving for Anthony’s wife – their mother and grandmother. They suddenly found themselves having to plan for not one, but two funerals, during the midst of a pandemic. Thomas also robbed Anthony of his chance to say a proper goodbye to his much-loved wife of 46 years.

“I would like to commend Anthony's family for the bravery and dignity they have shown throughout the investigation and court process. I do hope that Thomas’ sentencing gives them the closure that they want and deserve.”