Johnny Brazil pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Joyce Burgess who he robbed at her home in Loop Road on July 7, 2018. He also admitted to a number of other burglaries in the county.
The 26-year-old was brought to justice following key forensic evidence recovered, including a cigarette butt found in the street, CCTV footage and crucial witness testimony. A public appeal following the initial attack identified other offences he’d committed, and led officers to Leeds in Yorkshire where he was arrested.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Alexis Batty said: “Johnny Brazil is now rightfully behind bars for what he did, having caused the death of Joyce Burgess following his callous robbery and attack on her in her home.
“Having been admitted to hospital following the attack, she showed positive signs of recovery before tragically suffering a heart attack two days later brought on by what had happened. Our thoughts remain with her family and friends who have remained stoic throughout.
“Brazil is simply an opportunistic thief who showed no moral boundaries whatsoever in preying on clearly vulnerable victims and in Mrs Burgess’ case leaving her with significant injuries. It is heart-breaking that it was all for the sake of her handbag containing personal items and a small amount of cash.”
Brazil was initially charged with causing grievous bodily harm in relation to the attack on Mrs Burgess, but this was replaced with manslaughter due to expert medical evidence.
DC Batty added: “Brazil was charged in July based on the evidence we had available at the time. Since then we have sought expert medical advice which meant we had the evidence to proceed with a manslaughter charge. We appreciate this was a view formed by some in the days after Mrs Burgess’ death, and we have worked hard since to reflect the severity of the offences.”
Brazil was initially arrested on July 17 following matching descriptions given by victims. He was however released under investigation. Further evidence, including positive identification by victims and a DNA match that put him at the scene of the Loop Road robbery came to light on July 20 and Brazil was sought for re-arrest but had fled the area. He was arrested in Leeds, Yorkshire on July 31.
He pleaded guilty to the offences when he appeared at Guildford Crown Court on Friday, June 21. He will be sentenced on August 9.
Robbery – Woodcotes Road, Epsom, June 30 at 4.37pm.
He entered the front door of a property through an unlocked door. The victim, an 81-year-old woman was in her bedroom when she saw Brazil. She told him to go. He grabbed her handbag which was hanging on the door. Brazil grabbed the victim by her wrists and pushed her to the floor. The victim was unable to call police straight away as she was unable to get up.
Brazil was captured on CCTV in the area and was positively identified by the victim.
Robbery and manslaughter: Loop Road, Woking, July 7 – 5.54pm
Brazil approached Joyce Burgess’ front door owing to it being an extremely hot day and when confronted by Joyce Burgess, asked for a glass of water. As Mrs Burgess went to her kitchen, Brazil entered and picked up her handbag. Mrs Burgess struggled with Brazil and suffered significant arm injuries and bruises to her face. Mrs Burgess died aged 84 on July 10 in hospital.
Attempt burglary Balfour Avenue, Woking – July 8.
A 71-year-old woman reported that at 4.50am a man, Brazil, had opened a window in her bedroom and looked in. She disturbed him and he left.
Burglary – Honeypots Road, Woking – July 8
Entered during hours of darkness as 89-year-old woman was asleep. Access gained through bedroom toilet window. He took two handbags and two necklaces. CCTV footage shows Brazil walking along Honeypots Road at 4.44am.
Burglary – Howards Road, Woking – July 8
Report that at 6am a 96-year-old woman woke to see Brazil in her bedroom. The victim initially thought she was dreaming and returned to bed, but later that morning noticed her front door was open and upon hearing about the robbery in Loop Road, reported the incident. A box of sentimental jewellery was found to have been taken.
Burglary – Vicarage Road, July 8.
Handbag stolen from property in the early hours of the morning. CCTV shows Brazil outside the house at 3.06am, checking the doors, and also smoking a cigarette which he dropped in the street. He returned at 5.44am and enters through the front door, leaving with the handbag. The cigarette was recovered and DNA matched to Brazil. The handbag was handed into Woking Police Station later the same day having been found discarded and partially burned in The Terrace.
He was also charged with possession of an offensive weapon, criminal damage.