De Silva Give Life Sentence for Murder of Joseph Griffiths

Tribute paid to "utmost restraint and dignity" of Fulham man's family

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Aaron De Silva has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of pensioner Joseph Griffiths in his Fulham home in November 10, 2012.Aaron De Silva, murderer of Fulham pensioner Joseph Griffiths.

De Silva, who stabbed 73 year-old Mr Griffiths 22 times, was also sentenced to 12 years to be served concurrently for the burglary.

De Silva, 21, had admitted entering the house in Hazlebury Road, off Wandsworth Bridge Road and killing Mr Griffiths but tried to plead guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. This was not accepted by the jury.

Successive psychiatric reports found that while De Silva, of Warwick Road, Earls Court, may have had a personality disorder, he was suffering no mental illness at the time of the killing.

De Silva has 31 previous convictions including robbery, assault, burglary and carrying a knife.

Detective Inspector Simon Pickford, the investigating officer for the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said on conviction: "De Silva is an extremely violent individual who had no hesitation in stabbing the victim repeatedly in a frenzied and brutal attack after he was disturbed having broken into Mr Griffiths' home.

"I must pay tribute to Mr Griffiths' family who have been left utterly devastated by what happened. They have conducted themselves with the utmost restraint and dignity throughout this tragic incident and my and my team's thoughts are with them."

On November 9, Mr Griffiths had enjoyed an evening out with his wife and visiting friends, who stayed overnight in Hazlebury Road,

At around 6.20am one of the guests was woken by a commotion and shouting, and when they went downstairs they discovered the victim's wife sobbing and screaming and Mr Griffiths lying in the hallway on his back with his dressing gown covered in blood.

Police and the ambulance service were called, but Mr Griffiths was pronounced dead at the scene. A post-mortem examination later revealed the businessman, who had two grown-up sons and seven grandchildren, died of multiple stab wounds and had been attacked 22 times.

Enquiries revealed a pair of bolt croppers had been stolen from a neighbouring garden shed and the basement-level rear kitchen window of the Griffiths' home had been forced with the handle of the bolt croppers.

De Silva had climbed over four garden walls and negotiated trellises and hedges to get to the back of the Griffiths' house. He had then opened the back door ready for his escape.

A lock knife was found near the murder scene, in Snowbury Road. Blood on the handle matched that of the victim.

A partial DNA profile matching De Silva was found on the handle.

CCTV showed De Silva back at his hostel around an hour after the murder listening to music, seemingly entirely unaffected by what he had just done.

He was arrested on 13 November 2012 and charged two days later.

Mr Griffiths and his wife had lived in their Fulham home for nearly and with the help of his sons, ran Shelby car mechanics in New King's Road

In an impact statement the victim's son Mark said: "This statement is regarding the murder of my father Joseph Lewis Griffiths and it is written on behalf of the whole family.

"The murder of Joe in such a brutal and senseless manner has left a gaping hole not only in our immediate family but also the families of all who knew him.

"What should have been a happy Saturday get-together for the whole family on 10 November 2012 was shattered by the numbing news of Joe's murder. Instead of coming together as a family to share a meal we were gathered together in very different circumstances that, even today over a year hence, does not seem real.

"Writing this some 15 months after that dreadful day, those events were real and we as a family are living with the devastating consequences of that terrible act of violence. The sudden loss of Joe has caused severe stress among all family members and has especially hit his seven grandchildren.

"The whole family, and our circle of friends, still feel a deep sorrow and sense of loss since Joe's murder. Members of our family have had to deal with recurring nightmares, triggered by that fateful day. We can only hope that with the passage of time these nightmares and feelings will lessen.

"Judy (mum) took the brave decision to return to the house where her husband was murdered, trying to live her life as normally as possible. This is the house where she and Joe had lived for 50 years, where one of her children was born and where both sons were raised.

"An irreplaceable member of our thriving family business was lost; 50 years of business experience and acumen gone in a wanton act of mindless violence.

"He is, and will always be, sorely missed by everyone."

March 3, 2014