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Northfleet: sex killer jailed for life

ROBERT HOWARD: described as having a predatory interest in young teenage girls
ROBERT HOWARD: described as having a predatory interest in young teenage girls
VICTIM: Hannah Williams
VICTIM: Hannah Williams

A MONSTROUS killer has been jailed for life after murdering a teenager whose body was found dumped in a cement works at Northfleet.

Robert Howard, who frequently visited his girlfriend in High Street, Northfleet, was arrested after the badly decomposed body of Deptford schoolgirl Hannah Williams was found buried at the Blue Circle cement works on March 15, 2002.

Howard, who has a string of previous sex convictions, was described by police as having a “predatory interest in young teenage girls”.

Jurors heard how a blue rope had been wound tightly around Hannah’s neck, with her strawberry blonde hair entangled in it.

Another teenage girl, who had been sexually abused by Howard in the early 1990s, gave evidence, detailing how he would tighten a noose around her neck, if she did not do as he wanted.

Howard, 61, was unanimously convicted at Maidstone Crown Court of murdering Hannah, who disappeared from her South London home, on April 21, 2001, a month before her 15th birthday.

The cold-hearted killer showed little reaction as he was found guilty after the jury deliberated for just over three hours.

FULL BACKGROUND TO THE STORY IN THIS WEEK'S GRAVESEND MESSENGER

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