A MAN from Alton who fatally stabbed a vulnerable woman in a brutal knife attack has been found guilty of manslaughter.
Matthew Reynolds, 32, from Pound Gate in Alton, was convicted by a jury at Winchester Crown Court today (May 6) of stabbing Bonnie Harwood, 47, in the early hours of October 10, 2021, inside her flat in Aldersey Fields, Alton.
He was found not guilty of murder following the five week trial.
Reynolds, a long-standing drug addict who needed money to fund his habit and to repay drug debts, arranged to meet with Ms Harwood who was herself a drug user and dealer to associates and friends.
Ms Harwood thought Reynolds was just coming to see her to supply her with drugs, but he had actually made the arrangement so that he could rob her of her money and heroin having become increasingly desperate for funds and his next fix.
Being in a poor state of health and often needing to use a mobility scooter, she would have presented as a vulnerable person who was easy to target.
Between 3.50am and 4.15am on Sunday, October 10, Reynolds attacked Ms Harwood with a knife, and left her to die without seeking any medical assistance for her.
He sent text messages to Ms Harwood’s mobile phone shortly after killing her in an attempt to suggest that he hadn’t visited her at all and called her again in the morning to further construct a cover story that he had not seen her that night.
It wasn’t until later in the afternoon on that day that Ms Harwood was found by one of her friends, who alerted the emergency services.
Following a thorough police investigation, Reynolds was charged with Ms Harwood’s murder on Friday, October 15, 2021.
Reynolds denied the charge of murder and today (May 6) a jury at Winchester Crown Court found him not guilty of murder, but guilty of Bonnie’s manslaughter.
At an earlier court hearing, Reynolds also pleaded guilty to robbery. Three days before he killed Bonnie Harwood, Reynolds robbed a Post Office in Holybourne village. He threatened a lone female worker with an axe and stole £100 from the shop’s till.
Andrew Eddy, CPS Wessex Senior Crown Prosecutor, said: “Matthew Reynolds tried to cover up what he had done, but inevitably made mistakes that were uncovered during the thorough police investigation.
“The careful analysis of CCTV evidence, mobile phone data and forensic evidence proved that Reynolds was not telling the truth and that he was clearly responsible for Bonnie’s death. In fact, shortly after fatally attacking Bonnie, Reynolds was actively selling the heroin that he had also stolen from her.
“This case is a stark reminder of the devastation that drug use can cause, and the desperate lengths an addict will go to in order to feed his habit.
“I hope that Bonnie’s friends and family will feel that justice has been delivered today.”
Reynolds has been remanded in custody to appear for sentence at the same court centre on a future date.