Man who raped and attempted to murder pensioner 'dies after prison suicide'

Robert Richards was found unresponsive in his cell on Tuesday morning ahead of his sentencing for attempted murder and rape of a pensioner

Robert Richards was found unresponsive in his cell on Tuesday morning ahead of his sentencing for attempted murder and rape of a pensioner

First published in News
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Surrey Comet: Photograph of the Author Exclusive by , Deputy editor

A man who raped and attempted to murder a pensioner in Chessington has died days before he was due to be sentenced.

Robert Richards, 22, was found hanged in his cell on Tuesday morning.

Paramedics were called to Wandsworth prison at 9am and took Richards to St George's Hospital in Tooting.

He could not be revived.

Surrey Comet:

HMP Wandsworth

Richards had been convicted in June of raping and attempting to kill a woman in her 70s in Chessington in October last year.

He climbed in her window as she was lying in bed and whispered "I like you. I will kill you," before pulling her to the floor and raping her.

The attack was so vicious it left her with a broken jaw, a bleed on the brain, a fracture below the eye, a broken hip, several fractured vertebrae and 10 broken ribs.

He was due to be sentenced on Monday.

The news of Richards’ death was posted on Facebook by family members, according to friends, but was then deleted.

His half brother Matthew Cook, 21, defended his sibling against the stream of online abuse directed at him.

Mr Cook, who shared a father with Richards, said: “He was not as bad as people made him out to be.

“He was a loving man, a caring man who loved his kid and his brothers. He was the sort of person who if he saw you with too much shopping, he would help you carry it.

“I’m not saying what he did wasn’t wrong. It was very, very bad. I don’t know what was going through his head.”

Mr Cook said Richards had an “awful” upbringing and was left to his own devices as a child growing up.

But he said he never anticipated him committing such a crime.

He said: “Robert was Robert. He didn’t go into details about how he felt.

“I saw him about two weeks before it all happened. He was just Robert. I didn’t see anything different in him.”

On Richards’ death, Mr Cook said: “He’s got a boy who’s now got no father. I know he would be about 20 or 30 years old by the time Robert got out, but he would still have a father. Now Robert’s gone, his son has no father.”

Mr Cook said he had received death threats following his half brother’s arrest in October, but said: “Nobody can scare me. I don’t care.

"The people who say things to me don’t know Robert.

"I love him, and he'll always be a brother to me."

A neighbour of the victim said there had been a mixed reaction to the news.

They said: “It's been quite, ‘May he rot in hell,' and that sort of thing.

"I've also had a reaction from people that knew his mother. They're saying, 'You should think of her and what she's going through.”

A prison service spokesman said: "HMP Wandsworth prisoner Robert Richards was found unresponsive in his cell on the morning of Tuesday, July 29.

"Staff attempted to resuscitate him and paramedics were called but he was pronounced dead in hospital at 9.50pm the same day.

"As with all deaths in custody, the Independent Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will conduct an investigation."

Neighbours of the victim said police visited her yesterday morning to inform her she no longer needed to attend court to see him sentenced.

Richards' is the second death of a Wandsworth prisoner in less than two months.

On June 12, Mathan Vadivelalagan, 20, of Mitcham, was found unresponsive in his cell by a member of staff.

Anyone affected by issues can gain confidential advice and support by calling the Samaritans on 08457 909090 by emailing jo@samaritans.org or by visiting the website at samaritans.org

Comments (9)

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11:51am Thu 31 Jul 14

trasie says...

Sorry but whoever does this to person in the 70's has some serious issues. The pain and suffering that poor woman has had to endure, I think the best result has already happened. I don't know how the mother must be feeling about the whole situation, but I don't think she will blame people for thinking that's the best thing that could have happened for the victim. It's a very sad situation for both families involved.
Sorry but whoever does this to person in the 70's has some serious issues. The pain and suffering that poor woman has had to endure, I think the best result has already happened. I don't know how the mother must be feeling about the whole situation, but I don't think she will blame people for thinking that's the best thing that could have happened for the victim. It's a very sad situation for both families involved. trasie
  • Score: 120

1:28pm Thu 31 Jul 14

jswan1 says...

Glad to hear this scumbag has expired, but feel sorry for his family in how he has shamed them.
Glad to hear this scumbag has expired, but feel sorry for his family in how he has shamed them. jswan1
  • Score: 103

1:30pm Thu 31 Jul 14

worldlyman2013 says...

Aw what a shame.
Aw what a shame. worldlyman2013
  • Score: 69

2:06pm Thu 31 Jul 14

becstar77 says...

Great news for a change :)
Great news for a change :) becstar77
  • Score: 71

2:09pm Thu 31 Jul 14

edstar says...

I wonder how much responcibility his family have for him turning out like this?
I wonder how much responcibility his family have for him turning out like this? edstar
  • Score: 70

3:00pm Thu 31 Jul 14

Mattycook92 says...

Hi I'm Roberts half brother Matt and edstar his mum and dad are purely the reason he has turned out like this our father never wanted to know us and his mother never had the time of day for him she never taught him right from wrong for all you who don't know Robert he is a loving and very caring man I will always love him even after what he did thanks 4 ready matthew cook
Hi I'm Roberts half brother Matt and edstar his mum and dad are purely the reason he has turned out like this our father never wanted to know us and his mother never had the time of day for him she never taught him right from wrong for all you who don't know Robert he is a loving and very caring man I will always love him even after what he did thanks 4 ready matthew cook Mattycook92
  • Score: -73

3:04pm Thu 31 Jul 14

Angelspy says...

I'm ashamed to say I knew this disgrace of a boy when I was younger. Took the cowards way out! Just shows how guilty is was. I feel sorry for his daughter having to learn what a scumbag he was. What he did to this women who physically and mentally be sacred for life. Justice has no way been served. should man up and been someone's b*tbh in prison.
I'm ashamed to say I knew this disgrace of a boy when I was younger. Took the cowards way out! Just shows how guilty is was. I feel sorry for his daughter having to learn what a scumbag he was. What he did to this women who physically and mentally be sacred for life. Justice has no way been served. should man up and been someone's b*tbh in prison. Angelspy
  • Score: 87

3:06pm Thu 31 Jul 14

jswan1 says...

Mattycook92 wrote:
Hi I'm Roberts half brother Matt and edstar his mum and dad are purely the reason he has turned out like this our father never wanted to know us and his mother never had the time of day for him she never taught him right from wrong for all you who don't know Robert he is a loving and very caring man I will always love him even after what he did thanks 4 ready matthew cook
At 22 years old he should have known right from wrong. Put it this way - when he did what he did he knew it was wrong, and he didn't need his mother or father to tell him that. The world is better off without this scumbag and I am just glad my taxes do not have to contribute towards keeping him fed and watered.
[quote][p][bold]Mattycook92[/bold] wrote: Hi I'm Roberts half brother Matt and edstar his mum and dad are purely the reason he has turned out like this our father never wanted to know us and his mother never had the time of day for him she never taught him right from wrong for all you who don't know Robert he is a loving and very caring man I will always love him even after what he did thanks 4 ready matthew cook[/p][/quote]At 22 years old he should have known right from wrong. Put it this way - when he did what he did he knew it was wrong, and he didn't need his mother or father to tell him that. The world is better off without this scumbag and I am just glad my taxes do not have to contribute towards keeping him fed and watered. jswan1
  • Score: 107

3:12pm Thu 31 Jul 14

Laurenkirsty says...

Can't believe this, yes what he done was the worst thing a person could possibly do but that isn't who he is, he was such a caring boy always there if you needed him. He had his problems and no one there to help him, he didn't no his dad & his mum was never interested. He done this because he couldn't live with himself after he done the crime. People will always judge him and call him skum etc but if you really knew the real him you'd no that is was so out of his nature. I don't care what people will think of me but this boy will always be in my heart & I'll always love & miss him. Fly high handsome, way to young :( love you 💙💙
Can't believe this, yes what he done was the worst thing a person could possibly do but that isn't who he is, he was such a caring boy always there if you needed him. He had his problems and no one there to help him, he didn't no his dad & his mum was never interested. He done this because he couldn't live with himself after he done the crime. People will always judge him and call him skum etc but if you really knew the real him you'd no that is was so out of his nature. I don't care what people will think of me but this boy will always be in my heart & I'll always love & miss him. Fly high handsome, way to young :( love you 💙💙 Laurenkirsty
  • Score: -121

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