A BLACKBURN man has admitted killing an 88-year-old pensioner and setting fire to his home.

Preston Crown Court heard Anthony Curry, of Dyson Street, plead guilty to the manslaughter of former lecturer Christopher Proctor at his bungalow in Pleckgate Road in Blackburn.

The 39-year-old yesterday also pleaded guilty to arson, and had already admitted burglary and two counts of attempted theft at an earlier hearing.

Police were called by the fire service shortly before 4am on November 10, last year to reports of a fire at a bungalow owned and lived in by Mr Proctor.

After the fire was extinguished Mr Proctor’s body was discovered and an investigation was launched.

Detectives quickly established that over a period of time Mr Proctor was befriended by Curry, who prayed on his vulnerability in order to steal money from him.

Just hours before his death CCTV was recovered of Mr Proctor visiting a cash machine close by and he was changing his pin number.

Following the fire, officers recovered his bank book and wallet discarded in nearby drains.

Curry’s partner, Clare Randall, 31, also of Dyson Street, Blackburn has admitted burglary and two charges of attempted theft.

Both will be sentenced later this month.

Det Supt Paul Withers, from the Force Major Investigation Team, said: “Whilst pleading guilty saves the family the trauma of having to sit through a trial, it doesn’t diminish the serious consequences of Anthony Curry’s actions.

“Curry showed no regard for Mr Proctor, he was just intent on stealing from him.

“Over a period of time he befriended him and preyed on his vulnerability and took advantage.

“This really is a tragic case that touched the hearts of the local community.

“I would like to thank those people who came forward with information that assisted our investigation.

“Specialist officers will continue to provide support for the family of Mr Proctor and I hope that this can bring them some closure and will help them as they continue to grieve for their loss.”