Thug who beat a British grandmother to death is jailed for 25 years

Dutch thug who beat a British grandmother, 70, to death at her Spanish villa to steal £500 is jailed for 25 years

  • Nicolas Pijnenborgh, 51, attacked Margaret McNulty at her Spanish home in 2019
  • He was sentenced to 23 years for murder and two years, six months for robbery
  • Pijnenborgh was also ordered to pay Margaret’s two children  £101,000 each
  • The Dutch handyman did odd jobs for Margaret and had gone to her home to borrow money on the night of the murder 

A Dutch man who beat a British grandmother to death in her Spanish villa has been jailed for 25 years.

Nicolas Pijnenborgh was sentenced to 23 years for Margaret McNulty’s murder and two years and six months for robbing her of £500.

A judge at an Elche court, near Alicante, jailed Pijnenborgh, 51, after a three-day trial last month in which he was found guilty by a jury.  

Margaret’s children Cheryl Edmondson and David Parker were in court for the jury verdict.

The Dutch handyman, who used an assumed name at the time, did odd jobs for his victim and had gone to her house in Granja de Rocamora near Elche the night of the murder to borrow money. 

Jurors heard how the 6ft, 16-stone brute subjected the 8st 9lbs, 5ft-2in OAP to a stomach-turning attack in order to steal just £500, which he spent with a friend that same night partying in bars and nightclubs.

On November 16 2019, Pijnenborgh struck as Margaret’s guard was down in her kitchen after watching her pull a €50 note out of a purse where she kept extra cash.

 Nicolas Pijnenborgh (pictured) was sentenced to 23 years for Margaret McNulty’s murder and two years and six months for robbing her of £500

 Margaret had emigrated to Spain in 2003 with her husband, who died two years later, from Heysham, Lancashire

Pictured: Margaret’s home in the small town of Granja de Rocamora, near Elche in Spain

He grabbed Margaret, weeks away from her 71st birthday, round the neck and threw her on the kitchen floor before punching and kicking her repeatedly as well as stamping on her head, face and chest.

Margaret, whose second husband died in a motorcycle accident two years after they emigrated to Spain in 2003 from Heysham, Lancashire, suffered multiple injuries including brain trauma, a broken jaw, several broken ribs, a fractured sternum, a broken spine and myocardial rupture.

Pijnenborgh fled the scene but was arrested around two months later and held on remand in prison until his trial.

He made a partial confession following his detention, but claimed he had suffered from memory loss after consuming crack cocaine and alcohol.

Judge Joaquin Maria Orellana Piera, who delivered his sentence in a 51-page written ruling made public on Friday, revealed that Pijnenborgh had been arrested by police for a string of alleged street muggings on women in Spain between January and February 2018 and had 19 criminal convictions in the Netherlands for drugs and weapons possession.

‘The killer was stronger and used the kitchen to ensure he was able to carry out his crimes. 

Margaret’s daughter Cheryl (right) and son David (left) were both in attendance at court to witness Pijnenborgh’s conviction

‘His victim had no escape because she was surrounded by four walls and her only way out towards the street was through the dining room which her attacker had covered.

‘His attack was so sudden, quick and intense that she had no possibility of defending herself,’ Orellana said.

The prosecutor told the nine-strong jury who sealed Pijnenborgh’s fate in an opening court address: ‘The accused, motivated by the intention of ending his victim’s life, or at least fully conscious of the risk to her life his actions entailed, took advantage of the fact her back was turned. 

The lawyer said in court: ‘Margaret’s killer was motivated by the intention to obtain an illicit economic benefit at someone else’s cost. He went to her house when he knew she’d be alone.’

Margaret had been only weeks away from her 71 birthday when she was killed

Margaret’s son David, a 50-year-old process engineer from Morecambe, said after the guilty verdict on September 17: ‘The last two years have been the most harrowing and hardest of my life.

‘We’ve had to fight from day one to get information on what happened to my mum and what was happening with the court investigation.

‘We weren’t even told she had been murdered for nearly a couple of weeks and just before we were due to cremate her in line with her wishes.

‘We ended up having to bury her so they’d release mum’s body.

‘Mum was loving it in Spain. She wanted to spend the rest of her life here.’

Daughter Cheryl, 49, who lives in Marloes, added: ‘We adored our mum. She was the backbone of the family.

‘It makes me sick to know how badly that horrible, evil man hurt mum.

‘I can’t understand how a human being could do something like this to another person. 

After the jury’s guilty verdict, Pijnenborgh’s defence lawyer asked the judge to show clemency and sentence him to just five years in prison for Margaret’s murder and six months for robbing her.

As well as being jailed for more than 25 years, he has also been ordered to pay Margaret’s grown-up children €120,000 (£101,000) each in compensation.

The total jail sentence he has received is just short of the 29-year term a state prosecutor said he was seeking after jurors convicted Pijnenborgh of murder and robbery. 

As well as being jailed for more than 25 years, Pijnenborgh has also been ordered to pay Margaret’s grown-up children €120,000 (£101,000) each in compensation. Pictured: Pijnenborgh (left) is led into the courtroom for his three-day trial last month 

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