Court finds her tenant guilty of causing her death
A Southfields man been found guilty of causing the death of his Mormon landlady at their home after her lifeless body was found on the floor, underneath a duvet.
Felix Gutierrez-Cortez, aged 34, of Chilworth Court, Windlesham Grove, Southfields, was today (March 4) found guilty of manslaughter by diminished responsibility and will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on Friday, 24 April.
The court heard how Gutierrez-Cortez, a fellow Mormon, dialled 999 and requested an ambulance attend the address on the evening of Tuesday, December 10 2013.
Emergency services found the lifeless body of 61-year-old Anna Maria Thomas on the floor in the bedroom, covered by a duvet. A pillow had been placed under her head.
Gutierrez-Cortez gave a conflicting account having initially claimed he'd found Anna Maria dead when he returned home that day and had covered her with a quilt.
He later claimed that she regularly became unconscious during meditation and that he had stayed in the lounge for two days while she meditated in the spare bedroom.
A post-mortem examination held the next day found that Anna Maria had died as a result of strangulation or rupture of the windpipe and had been dead for some days before Gutierrez-Cortez made the call to emergency services.
The court heard how the two had lived together in an arrangement that provided Gutierrez-Cortez with an address and Anna Maria with a carer.
Together they had attended the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and been regularly visited at home by missionaries.
It is known that Anna Maria's last movements included a visit to church at Nightingale Lane, followed by a trip to the library and Sainsbury's in the Clapham Junction area. The last sighting of her alive was at 6.27pm on Sunday, December 8 2013 when she was seen getting off the bus near her flat.
Gutierrez-Cortez was arrested on Tuesday, December 10 2013 and sectioned under the Mental Health Act, awaiting trial.
Investigating officer Detective Inspector Andy Rees had previously asked people who knew Anna Maria Thomas to come forward. He said: "I am very grateful to the friends and neighbours of Anna Maria who assisted officers with their enquiries.
"Our investigations demonstrated that she was a caring mother and grandmother and a deeply religious woman with a wide circle of friends who will miss her deeply - I hope the conviction today provides them with a measure of comfort."
March 4, 2015