A man who killed a woman and then lived in her Battersea flat for several weeks as her body began to decay has been jailed

42-Year-old Kristian Smith, of no fixed abode, was convicted of killing 52-year-old Antoinette Donegan following a trial at the Old Bailey on January 27.

He has now been sentenced to 12 and a half years in jail for her manslaughter.

The court heard police were called to Antoinette’s home address in Este Road on March 7, 2019, following concerns for her welfare as she had not been seen for more than a month.

After receiving no answer at the front door, officers gained entry via a bedroom window and found Antoinette’s body.

The body was in a state of decomposition, indicating it had been there a number of weeks.

However, there was a significant amount of blood on the floor by her head and on the furniture in the room.

Clothing had been pushed up against the bedroom door from the hallway to conceal the smell of the decomposing corpse.

Homicide detectives from the Met’s Specialist Crime team began an investigation and identified Smith, who had been living in the flat since November 2018, as the prime suspect.

Analysis of CCTV and Antoinette’s phone records revealed she had last been seen alive on February 1, 2019.

Detectives arrested Mr Smith on Bridge Lane in Battersea, on March 13, 2019 where he was found in possession of Antoinette’s bank card, sim card and some of her jewellery.

Traces of blood on his trainers were also matched to Antoinette.

A post-mortem examination revealed that Antoinette had suffered a number of head injuries caused by a broken mug found in the bedroom.

She had also suffered seven fractured ribs, injuries believed to be indicative of an assault.

In addition to the manslaughter charge, Smith was also sentenced for fraud and preventing a lawful burial – offences which he had previously pleaded guilty to.

Detective Chief Inspector John Massey, the officer in the case, said: "This is a tragic case in which Antoinette’s generosity in allowing Kristian Smith to stay in her flat has been abused in the worst way possible.

“Antoinette was a vulnerable individual who was battling addiction herself.

“We will never know what instigated Smith’s brutal attack on Antoinette.

"But, what we do know, is that he then carried on with his life as if nothing had happened.

"He stole her bank card and withdrew money, presumably to buy drugs.

"I am glad the jury has seen through his lies and he now faces a long period in jail.”

DCI Massey further explained that Mr Smith continued with his life as if nothing had happened and simply blocked up Ms Donegan's bedroom door to conceal any smell.

He was also convinced that the injuries that Ms Donegan sustained indicated that Mr Smith did not act in self-defense.