An unemployed man faces a life prison sentence after admitting murdering his elderly grandmother in a “brutal and frenzied” attack and hours later trying to kill a nine-year-old boy near his home.
Nathaniel Flynn, 26, killed 84-year-old Louisa Denby at the home they shared in Shipley before sparking a major police manhunt in the town after stabbing schoolboy Jason D’Arcy as he played at a skate park.
Jason was stabbed in the arm as he tried to defend himself from a blow aimed at his chest and police say it was “only through sheer luck” that he was not murdered.
Flynn, of Prospect Mount, Shipley, was due to go on trial next week but pleaded guilty to charges of murder and attempted murder at a hearing at Bradford Crown Court yesterday.
He has given no explanation of why he killed his “loving and kind” grandmother.
Shortly after the attack on Jason on July 1, Flynn tried to entice an eight-year-old girl from her garden where she was playing and later assaulted a 59-year-old man outside his home.
Speaking after the court hearing, Detective Chief Inspector Nick Wallen, of West Yorkshire Police, said he spent the day between attacks wandering around the local area and hiding in the surrounding countryside.
The officer said Flynn, who was born in the UK but has spent much of his life in the United States, was tracked down partly because of an outpouring of public help using social media.
He said: “I believe that if he had a firearm we might have had a much worse outcome than we did. It seems everyone he came into contact with he tried to inflict harm upon.”
The court was told how Jason D’Arcy and his father, a precision engineer, are heading to Downing Street next week to meet Prime Minister David Cameron, who previously expressed his horror at the attack. The judge, Mr Justice Keith, deliberately avoided that date for Flynn’s sentencing.
The judge was also told how Flynn’s mother, who is Miss Denby’s daughter, is flying from the United States for the sentencing hearing.
Flynn sat in the dock surrounded by security guards for the half-hour hearing. He was wearing glasses, a blue, short-sleeved, open neck shirt and jeans and entered his pleas in a quiet voice.
Mr Justice Keith told him he would be given a life sentence when he appears again in a fortnight but that he needed to decide how long he would stay in prison before he could be released on licence.
The court heard psychiatrists had examined the defendant but there was no suggestion he was suffering from any impairment when he committed the crimes.
Police have also discounted reports he was under the influence of drugs at the time.
Speaking outside the court, Mr Wallen thanked the people of Shipley for helping the police, who deployed “all available resources” to aid their search, to quickly detain and arrest Flynn.
He said: “Louisa Denby was subjected to a brutal and frenzied attack at the hands of her grandson, Nathaniel Flynn.
“To this day we still have no idea why he attacked her. Louisa was a lady, adored by her family, who had only ever shown her grandson love and kindness.”
Julian Briggs, from the Crown Prosecution Service’s Yorkshire complex casework unit, said: “It has not been possible to establish what drove Flynn to commit these awful crimes.
“He has now admitted his responsibility and pleaded guilty to charges of murder and attempted murder.
“We hope this brings some measure of comfort to the families of both victims. Our thoughts remain with them, as they have been throughout.”