03/02/2012 16:19 GMT | Updated 04/04/2012 06:12 BST

Scott Sorby Jailed For Murdering 94-Year-Old Woman In Care Home

A man who sexually assaulted and murdered a 94-year-old woman after breaking into a care home was told today he must serve a minimum of 24 years in prison.

A judge told Scott Sorby, 21, he had committed a "truly dreadful" act against Elizabetta Pecka in a "prolonged and ferocious physical attack" in her room.

Bradford Crown Court heard Sorby had been jailed for four and half years when he was 17 for attempting to rape a student in Leeds.

He was released part way through his sentence and was on licence when he broke into the Rosewood Court residential home, in Bradford, on January 21, last year.

He battered the defenceless pensioner and dragged her into her bathroom, where he continued the attack as he also attempted to rape her.

She died in hospital two months later, when she was 95, from pneumonia brought on by her ordeal.

The judge, Mr Justice King, jailed Sorby, formerly of Bradford, for life and ordered he should serve a minimum of 24 years before he is released.

Sorby showed no emotion as he sat in the dock surrounded by prison officers.

The court heard Mrs Pecka told paramedics who took her to hospital: "Let me die - they were animals."

The judge was told investigators found her room covered in blood.

He was also told Sorby tried to write to probation officers saying: "I will never forgive myself for what I've done. I'll never get over the image of standing over this poor woman, covered in blood - looking like a monster, looking like evil."

Sorby told officers he had broken into the care home only to steal property and said in his letters he had become angry and began to recall the events of the attempted rape when he was 17.

The court heard he blamed the victim of that attack at Leeds University, even though he knew she was innocent, and this escalated his assault on Mrs Pecka.

Adrian Waterman QC, prosecuting, told the judge Sorby wrote: "Then it came to me - hurt her by raping her."

He described how Sorby smashed up his cell when he heard about Mrs Pecka's death and daubed the walls, partly in his own blood, before trying to kill himself.

What he wrote included that he was an "evil bastard".

The judge said he accepted Sorby was "damaged and dangerous".

He said psychiatrists at the time of the attack on the student warned he was a physical and sexual danger.

The court heard he was first reprimanded at the age of 10 and had a long criminal record which started when he was 13.

The judge was told that after the attack on Mrs Pecka, and before he was caught, he committed two more house burglaries, took cash from a Co-op store and then robbed the same store, threatening staff with a knife.

Sorby, formerly of Binns Lane, Bradford, also asked for a number of other similar offences to be taken into account.

Detective Superintendent Dick Nuttall, of West Yorkshire Police, said: "Scott Sorby carried out a brutal and cowardly physical and sexual assault on a vulnerable and defenceless lady of 94 in the very place she felt most safe.

"Mrs Pecka had been an active lady in relatively good health, but after this attack she never left hospital and it is very clear that Sorby's actions led to her death."

The detective said: "Thankfully people like Scott Sorby are a rarity in our society and if there is any comfort to be had from this awful situation, it is that he is no longer in a position to pose a danger to the community.

"We should also take a little time remember to Elizabetta Pecka.

"Her life was lost as a result of Sorby's depravity and I hope that today's sentence will bring some sense of justice to those who cared for her."