A man has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a grandfather whose body was found near Southampton Common.
Tommy Scott, 34, of no fixed address, appeared at Winchester Crown Court after he admitted killing Gerald Pragnell at a hearing last month.
The body of the 66-year-old was found in woodland off of Cemetery Road, on November 3.
Mr Pragnell had been reported missing by his family on November 2 after he failed to return home from work on November 1.
He was last seen leaving work at Southampton Airport at around 6.30am in his silver Mercedes GLA.
The court heard how Scott had strangled Mr Pragnell with a piece of material he was using as a belt, before leaving his body under leaves.
The prosecutor added that he then stole Mr Pragnell’s car, before returning the next day to steal his ring.
Today, Scott was sentenced to life in prison and will serve a minimum of 27 years. His Honour Judge Keith Cutler stressed that 27 years would be the minimum he would serve and that he may never be released.
Speaking after the sentencing his family said: “Tommy Scott’s actions have resulted in our dad never getting to spend another day with his grandson, his children, his partner and extensive network of family and friends.
“The sentence for what he did to our dad will never be enough.
“We would like to thank the police investigation team and our family liaison officers for their compassion, tenacity and support over recent months.”
Detective Chief Inspector Dave Morgan added: “Our thoughts are with the family of Mr Pragnell on this very difficult day.
“Having spent time with Mr Pragnell’s family and having heard their moving statements in court today, it is clear that he was a much-loved man and his sudden death has had a devastating impact on them.
“Today’s sentence, following Scott’s guilty plea at the earliest opportunity, is a testament to the determination and professionalism of my investigation team who have worked tirelessly to get justice for them.”