Financial advisor jailed for client murder

An independent financial adviser has been jailed for life today for fleecing an elderly client then murdering her when she demanded the cash back.

Peter Crittenden, 64, seduced lonely spinster Joan Beddeson and persuaded her to hand over nearly £300,000 before smothering her with a pillow in November 2002.

A jury at Chester Crown Court found Crittenden, of Worcester, guilty of murder and three counts of theft.

The verdicts followed an eight-week trial in which the prosecution compared smooth-talking Crittenden to Coronation Street's murderous financial adviser Richard Hillman.

It was revealed that Crittenden met Miss Beddeson after she replied to a newspaper advert offering financial advice.

Changed her will

The married father-of-three seduced the retired tax clerk to gain her trust before offering to "invest" her life savings.

Instead, he used the cash to pay off his massive personal debts and to back hopeless business ventures.

He also persuaded Miss Beddeson to change her will, making him the sole beneficiary.

When Miss Beddeson tried to end the affair and asked for the money back, Crittenden crept into her bungalow in Macclesfield, Cheshire, and smothered her as she lay in bed.

Silver-haired Crittenden claimed his lover felt "burdened" by her wealth and had threatened to burn it all unless he took it off her hands.

He also insisted he was at home on the night of her murder and could not explain why his car was photographed on the M5 and M6 motorways in the early hours.

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