A HOMELESS alcoholic has been jailed for 11 and a half years after being found guilty of the manslaughter of a retired teacher at his home.

A jury at Teesside Crown Court found Ryan Campbell, who admitted causing the death of George Francis Kidson, not guilty of his murder.

Campbell appeared to sigh with relief as the jury returned the murder charge verdict and nodded to his family in the public gallery.

Recorder Simon Bourne-Arton told the 30-year-old, previously of Racecourse Mews, Thirsk, that although he had apologised to Mr Kidson's family, he had shown too little remorse too late.

York Press: Victim: George Kidson
George Francis Kidson, who was killed by Ryan Campbell

Campbell, who had known Mr Kidson for 15 years and had often stayed at his home when he fell upon hard times, told his trial that he received cash and gifts from the 85-year-old in return for sexual favours, a claim the judge said remained in doubt.

The prosecution had alleged he “milked” Mr Kidson and was “drunk, angry and desperate for cash” when he climbed into the pensioner’s home through a back window in Sowerby, Thirsk, on November 5 last year and attacked him.

The court was told Campbell had argued with the pensioner and attacked him, causing Mr Kidson, described as "extremely frail, highly vulnerable and struggling with a number of illnesses" to collapse.

Campbell then put his hand over Mr Kidson's mouth and attacked him in his genital area, causing him injuries, before forcibly taking the former teacher's prized possession - a ring that his sister had given him for his 21st birthday, 64 years earlier.

The retired Sowerby school teacher died four days later of brain injuries.

Judge Bourne-Arton said Mr Kidson had remained determined to remain living in the home he once shared with his mother, who had died about 40 years previously.

The judge told Campbell: "By killing him you shortened his life. By killing him you have brought upset and misery to his family as they could not enjoy sharing the last years of his life together.

"They have shown extreme dignity throughout this case."

John Elvidge, for Campbell, said the defendant had been in turmoil about what had happened to the pensioner and had phoned his mother and brother, Chad, in distress.

The court heard Campbell's life had spiralled out of control after his lost his father in an accident and that his mother had tried her best to help him.

After the hearing, temporary detective superintendent Matt Walker said he felt the sentence reflected the violence Campbell had used on a man who had struggled even to walk and the "callous" theft of his ring.