A steelworker from Cricklewood has been found guilty of murdering his lesbian flatmate so he could steal her partner’s £1,000 savings.

The Old Bailey heard Michael Purcell, 53, owed £8,000 to the taxman and had been drinking a bottle-and-a-half of brandy a day in the weeks before he stabbed Imelda Molina 48 times at their flat in Ashford Court, Ashford Road.

Her body was discovered by her distraught partner Amalia Valdez on October 28 last year.

Ms Molina, 49, was naked from the waist down and she had suffered multiple stab wounds to her torso, her groin and between her legs.

She also had a black belt looped around her arm and a further stab wounds to her shoulders and arm pit.

Purcell’s door was locked, but when the police forced the handle they found him lying on the bed soaked in blood, with a 10cm gash to his neck where he had tried to slit his own throat.

Purcell, originally from Tipperary in southern Ireland, told paramedics: “I killed the woman next door, I just want to die.

“I don’t know what came over me, because she was a lovely lady.”

A rucksack containing £1,000 belonging to Ms Valdez was found stashed in his wardrobe during a second search of his room.

Ms Molina had vaginal injuries that could have been inflicted while Ms Molina was helpless or after her death.

Judge Wendy Joseph, QC, said she could not be satisfied that it was not a sexually motivated attack.

Purcell had admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, saying he had no memory of anything in the 10 days leading up to the attack but denied murder.

He was found guilty today and also convicted of burglary and will be sentenced on May 27.

Detective Inspector Jamie Stevenson from the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “We believe that the motive for the murder was financial. Enquires revealed he had problems with alcohol and owed a large amount of money, but even he may not really understand why he carried out such a vicious and sustained assault.

“However, what we can all understand is how Purcell’s attack resulted Imelda’s life being stolen away from those who loved her. Purcell will now face the consequences of his actions; he is a dangerous man who carried out a ferocious attack and he has rightly been brought to account.”