A 59-year-old man allegedly killed pensioner Bill Howard of Accrington, England.

For torturing and killing Bill, 79, at his home in St James Street on Aug. 24, 2021, John Swannack will serve a minimum of 30 years behind bars, reported LancsLive. According to Manchester Evening News, he was sentenced at Preston Crown Court on Tuesday for the murder, a police spokesman said.

Swannack is a crack cocaine addict, who kept his habit secret from his wife. During the coronavirus pandemic, he exploited vulnerable people to fuel his addiction to class A drugs.

On Aug. 26, Bill's brother called cops when he did not show up to their usual meeting spot to go to the pub. When cops entered the house, they found Bill with severe injuries to his head and chest, and was slumped on the sofa. Police found evidence that he had been tortured. They could smell cleaning products and fly spray in the flat, and his clothes were doused in white spirit.

Judge Robert Altham said that the puncture wounds to Bill’s eyelids would have been "excruciating." It was also apparent that he had been incapacitated either by fear or restraint. When police started investigating, it led them to Swannack. He is a known murderer who was already on license for life after being convicted of killing a friend with an iron bar. He was also involved in a gun point robbery which left a garage cashier in fear for her life.

Last summer, Swannack befriended several vulnerable residents in the Accrington area. He tricked them into handing over their bank details to him. But when Bill refused to give him his PIN number, he was tortured and then killed in a knife attack. Bill never handed over his PIN, and defensive injuries to his hands and arms showed that he tried to fight off the attacker. Later, Swannack used Bill’s bank card to buy groceries and vodka.

Mirror reported that a statement read out on behalf of Bill's brother Jack said that the two grew up in a family of four brothers, and the duo "were always the closest through our childhood, this bond continued throughout our lives." Jack shared that those who knew Bill knew "what a kind and gentle man he was." According to the pensioner's brother, Bill has done nothing "whatsoever to deserve what happened to him, he was just living a peaceful life and spent his days quietly going about his own business."

man holding knife
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