Sympathy at home for killer

NEIGHBOURS had plenty of sympathy for Zena Burton after her sentence was announced – and not one believed she should have been jailed.But people at Dinsdale Court in Undercliff Road West, Felixstowe, where Burton lived with John Westgate, did not know if she was returning to the flats.

By Richard Cornwell

NEIGHBOURS had plenty of sympathy for Zena Burton after her sentence was announced – and not one believed she should have been jailed.

But people at Dinsdale Court in Undercliff Road West, Felixstowe, where Burton lived with John Westgate, did not know if she was returning to the flats.

"No, I don't think sending her to jail would have done any good at all," said one woman resident, who said she knew Burton by sight but had not spoken to her.

"The judge hears all the evidence and he must know best. If it is true that she was abused, then that is dreadful – it's not an excuse for killing someone, but you don't know what goes on inside a person's head."

Residents of the 1960s-built two storey block of flats below Bulls Cliff said it was difficult to get to know other flatholders.

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People rarely saw each other – except if they bumped into each other coming out of their flats – and often knew little about who was next door.

They said people often stayed in the housing association owned flats, the main part of which is set back from the road on a raised level, a short time before moving on to other housing.

"I think the judge is a brave man not sending her to prison, because that's where you would expect someone to go for killing someone," said another resident.

"But I suppose every case has to be looked at differently and he must have thought that would not do her any good at all. I hope she gets the help with the alcohol and that. I didn't know her as such, but she would always say hello if you saw her coming in or out."

One man said: "I can understand someone doing what she did if they had been drinking a lot and they had an argument. Things happen on the spur of the moment, things people don't mean and tempers get out of hand.

"From what I read in the paper it sounds as if she had had a horrible life and I hope this means she can have a new life and a better one. She deserves a break.

"I will wish her all the best if I see her, but I don't know if she is coming back here. I don't know if her flat is still empty or not."

Residents said both Burton and Mr Westgate had "kept themselves to themselves" and had not gone out of their way to make friends.

Noise of fierce arguing had been heard coming from the flat on several occasions.