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Father of 4 Gareth Dack has been found guilty of the murder of 79-year-old Norma Bell. 

She was found strangled in her burning home in Westbourne Road, Hartlepool, in April.

Dack aged 33 has ransacked her home stole a boxed TV and £700 while she was dead or lay dying he used her phone to call sex chat lines.

Dack denied murder during the trail at Teesside Crown Court, He was found guilty today.

He started a number of fires in Mrs Bell’s house and turned on the gas in hope it would cause an Explosion.

Dack, who had borrowed £10 from his victim the weekend before, claimed he was not responsible and told the court she was a “wonderful woman”.

Forensic teams found a DNA match within the house with Dack clamming these were a result of him doing odd jobs for Mrs Bell.

Dack was questioned on why he refused to answer detectives questions after being arrested to which he claimed he thought the police were corrupt and had not wanted to help.

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Outside court, Ch Supt Alastair Simpson, of Cleveland Police, said Dack had interfered with Mrs Bell’s clothing and cut her underwear.

He added there was no evidence that he had sexually assaulted her, but said police had not ruled out the possibility.

In addition to being strangled, Mrs Bell had injuries to her ribs and shoulders consistent with someone kneeling on her.

She and her husband had three children of their own and six long-term foster children they treated as their own.

Dack is due to be sentenced on Thursday.

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