A man from Cuffley has been jailed for 23 years after attempting to murder his relative for inheritance before leaving her to die.

Andrew Oliver, of Northaw Road East, was sentenced today (Monday, December 4) at St Albans Crown Court after a jury found him guilty last Wednesday.

At around 8pm on Friday, January 20, the 56-year-old visited a relative, aged in her 70s, at her address in Cuffley.

Oliver attacked the victim as she was leaving her house, and she fell to the floor, where he began hitting her head against the concrete ground and repeatedly punching her face.

During the attack, the victim offered Oliver money to make him stop but he refused, saying it was not enough and that he needed her inheritance.

He then left the victim outside in the freezing temperatures while he went into her property.

For around nine hours, the victim was left fighting for her life, and Oliver would periodically come back and continue assaulting her.

At one point, Oliver came out of the house with what was believed to be an old dish cloth covered in plastic bags wrapped around his hand. He pressed it against the victim’s airways in an attempt to suffocate her, but she managed to fight him off.

He came out of the house again some time later and attempted to choke her with a handbag strap.

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Finally, at around 5am, the victim managed to get up and flee to a neighbour’s house for help. Oliver was arrested by police later that morning.

"Oliver showed unimaginable depravity towards his victim," said Detective Inspector Bianca Broadbent, from the Welwyn Hatfield Local Crime Unit.

"The temperature on that night was below zero degrees Celsius and she truly believed that she was going to die.

"She even tried leaving a scratch mark on Oliver so that if she died, her killer would be caught.

"I cannot imagine the trauma this ordeal caused and I want to commend her bravery. She showed remarkable strength fighting against a man, decades younger than her.

"I would also like to pay a special mention to PC Chloe Weir who worked so hard to help get this result for the victim.

"The court determined that the motive was financial gain as Oliver was in huge debt and the victim had left her estate to him in her will.

"I hope that Oliver now spends his time behind bars reflecting on his actions whilst his victim can live a life free from his cruelty."