AN ODD-JOB man stabbed and battered an 88-year-old great-grandmother to death and stripped the jewellery from her fingers, the Old Bailey has heard.

Daniel Franklin, of Felixstowe Road, Abbey Wood, is accused of murdering Irene Barrett, who he had known since his childhood, in a “vicious and prolonged” attack at her home.

Jurors heard she either caught him stealing her money or refused to give him any when he visited her 15th floor flat in Valiant House, Charlton, at around 7am on May 15 last year.

Franklin, aged 34, was arrested two days later but told officers he had been with his girlfriend at the time of the incident and denies murder.

Mrs Barrett, a retired secretary who had recently become housebound, was found hidden under bedclothes when a carer arrived two hours later.

She had been stabbed 21 times and had 32 blunt injuries including a cut to her hand which the prosecution says was inflicted when she tried to fend off her attacker.

Her flat had been ransacked and her wedding band and engagement ring were missing.

The Old Bailey heard there was no sign of forced entry and Mrs Barrett had not managed to activate the emergency cord around her neck.

Victor Temple, prosecuting, said: “She let him into her flat and for obvious reasons only this defendant knows the full details as to what transpired between them.”

He added: “Either he requested money and she refused or alternatively she caught him trying to steal.

“He proceeded to stab her repeatedly in the chest, neck and groin area and further to strike her in the mouth, the force of the blow dislodging and fracturing her dentures.”

Mrs Barrett’s son told the jury that he had warned her to stay away from Franklin.

David Barrett said: “I was told we had this problem with missing money and she said she had concerns about the window cleaner.

“I only knew him as Danny. I said I would clean her windows and she should tell him she didn't need his services anymore.”

He added: 'She expressed surprise at the number of occasions he visited, not just to clean the windows.'

Mr Barrett described his mother as a “very friendly, welcoming person”.

Mrs Barrett has also mentioned the missing money and her concerns about Franklin to her granddaughters Lisa Reid and Karen Burgess, the court heard.

Mrs Reid told jurors: “She said something like ‘I'm fine but I think Danny, the one that cleans my windows, he's been nicking my money’.

“She said he must have been doing it for years and people had told her not to accuse him of it.

“She never gave the impression she was scared or threatened by Danny, she had known him for a long time.”

The court heard Mrs Barrett had known Franklin since he was a small boy when his mother used to live in the same block of flats.

The trial continues.