A "cold and calculated" killer who murdered a blind charity worker and tried to burn his parents alive has been found dead in prison .
Mark Smith was found hanging in his prison cell at HMP Durham days after admitting to the murder of Jillian Grant.
Ms Grant, 38, was found dead at her home in North Shields on Christmas Day last year.
Smith, described by police as "cold and calculated", had also tried to kill his parents in an arson attack, ChronicleLive reported.
But, before he could be sentenced for his crimes, the 42-year-old was found hanging in his cell on June 25.
A Prison Service spokesman said: “HMP Durham prisoner Mark Smith died in custody on June 25, 2018.
“As with all deaths in custody there will be an independent investigation by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman.”
Smith had finally admitted murdering Miss Grant just days before he died and had previously admitted trying to kill his parents Linda and Graham.
Friends of Miss Grant and paid tribute to the dedicated charity worker.
They said: “Jillian was a much-loved daughter and sister who will be greatly missed by her family and large circle of friends.
“She had an independent spirit and lived her life to the full – she didn’t let blindness stand in her way.
“Although we do not believe we will ever be able to recover from the void in our lives following Jillian’s death, we have taken comfort from the support and love we have received from so many people.
“We would like to thank everyone for their kindness and support during this difficult time.”
Smith tried to kill mum and dad Linda and Graham Smith in a fire attack in the early hours of Christmas Day last year, at Eastcheap, Heaton.
Following the incident, officers conducted a search of Smith’s property in North Shields, which led to the discovery of Miss Grant’s body.
The 38-year-old, of Wallsend, north Tyneside, had been murdered some time between December 22 and December 24.
Full details of what happened were due to be revealed at a sentencing hearing, which will now not take place.
Source: Read Full Article