Forensic evidence was the key to bringing a violent Peterborough murderer to justice.
Michael Danaher, aged 50, of Hadrians Court, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, was found guilty of murdering historian Adrian Greenwood following a trial at Oxford Crown Court.
He has been sentenced to 34 years’ imprisonment.
Officers used DNA evidence, phone cell site technology and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology to bring Danaher to justice.
Det Supt Kevin Brown together with Senior Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Rebecca Waller said: “We believe Michael Danaher gained access to Adrian’s home by purporting to be interested in purchasing one of the many rare books he kept at home.
“He left over two hours later taking with him Adrian’s mobile phone, laptop, wallet, camcorder, camera and the rare and valuable first edition of Wind in the Willows which he knew Adrian had for sale on eBay, for the sum of £50,000.
“Danaher was arrested four days later at his home in Peterborough, and despite not being known to the police previously Danaher was forensically linked to Adrian’s death with telephone evidence (call data and cell site analysis), ANPR, fingerprints and DNA. The book and blade of the murder weapon amongst other items were discovered at Danaher’s home.
“During the course of the investigation, Danaher’s laptop was examined and it revealed that, over the previous six months, he had undertaken research into wealthy people on the internet and drawn up a spreadsheet of names and addresses.
“On the second day of the trial, Danaher claimed that an unknown man comprised this ‘enterprise list’. The list included individuals such as Jeffrey Archer and Kate Moss and detailed how he intended to get money from them, either by arriving on the pretext of delivering something or using a stun gun, in order to steal, rob or kidnap. He had purchased a stun gun in December 2015, via the internet to facilitate these offences.
“There is no doubt that Danaher’s intentions were serious, demonstrated by the fact he attempted a robbery at the home of investor, Adrian Beecroft, in London in March this year. However, when giving evidence, Danaher again stated this was the unknown man but refused to give the court any details about him in an attempt to distance himself from his criminal plans.
“From as early as January 2016, Danaher was travelling from Peterborough to Oxford in order to recce Adrian’s property and gather information about him, such as his car registration and home telephone number.