The family an 83-year-old man beaten and strangled to death in his home say they are hoping for justice after a distant relative was found guilty of his murder.

The comments come following the trial of Leighton Snook and a 16-year-old boy from Leicester, who had been charged after the death of Donald Ralph on December 28 last year.

Both had denied murdering the Aldham resident, with Ipswich Crown Court hearing how Snook contacted Mr Ralph in the weeks and days before his death, asking for money owed to drug-dealers.

The pair returned before Snook then beat and strangled him to death, later stealing his car and two guns before driving to Hastings, in Sussex.

Mr Ralph's niece, Tina, discovered his body the following day.

Ipswich Star: Leighton Snook has been convicted of murderLeighton Snook has been convicted of murder (Image: Essex Police)

Snook, 28, of Albrighton Croft, Colchester, was found guilty of his murder, while the teenage boy – who cannot be named for legal reasons – was found guilty of manslaughter.

Speaking following his conviction, Tina said it was a "shock" to learn the "loved and respected" family man was killed by a relative.

She said: “The injuries he suffered and how he was killed are incomprehensible to me. He was loved and respected by the family.

“It is so hard to understand why anyone would have wanted to hurt him.

“His extended family all live locally and this has really had an impact on us all.

“Don was also an incredibly well-liked and respected member of the community.

“He would get his newspaper each day from the local petrol station, he went to the bookmakers frequently too, and he belonged to about four local fishing clubs."

She added the family are "keen to see justice" for her uncle, who will be "greatly missed".

Ipswich Star: Donald Ralph's family are keen to see justiceDonald Ralph's family are keen to see justice (Image: Essex Police)

Police are continuing to appeal for information on the location of the stolen firearms, a self-loading Ruger Rifle 22 RF, serial number 354-66591 and a Browning shot gun with the serial number 419 13 MW.

Detective Chief Inspector Scott Egerton, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said this was a "horrific attack".

He said: “We will never know exactly what happened inside his home that day, but Donald’s death was completely needless and these offenders will receive the punishment this violent act deserves.

“Our thoughts remain with Donald’s family and friends, who have lost a much loved relative and friend."