A 74-year-old South Norwood woman was murdered in her own home by a burglar who later set fire to her body before continuing on a crime spree, a court has heard.

Aaron Fyle, 29, is alleged to have killed Eulin Hastings in January 2017 by beating her head and face with a blunt object after smashing through the back door to her house.

Prosecutors say that after starting a fire around Mrs Hastings' body while she lay dead or dying, Fyle then attempted to burgle another home shortly afterwards while a mother and her baby were inside.

The second burglary was just a few streets away from the alleged murder scene in Birchanger Road, the jury at the Old Bailey was told.

Brian O'Neill QC, prosecuting, said: "She managed to escape with her baby via the front door before calling police."

By the time they arrived Fyle "had armed himself with a knife and was threatening to harm himself", he added.

"He managed to get out of the house and jump over the fences of a number of properties before ending up on the roof of another house."

There he was cornered by police and began a stand-off which lasted for five hours until negotiators persuaded him to come down.

Meanwhile, the body of Mrs Hastings was discovered by firefighters after neighbours noticed "thick, billowing dark grey smoke" coming from her home and called 999, Mr O'Neill said.

Her body was burnt and bruised and she was in cardiac arrest and showing no signs of life, he added.

A running hose was found inside the property, which the prosecution says shows that Fyle had attempted to extinguish the fire.

Mr O'Neill said that the burglary had been "extremely untidy" and Fyle had left mess strewn all over the floor of Mrs Hastings' home after rooms had been "ransacked".

When he was eventually arrested on suspicion of killing Mrs Hastings, Fyle is alleged to have said to officers: "Murder, where has that come from?"

The following day he said to a policeman: "I've got nothing to do with the murder and nothing to do with breaking into that house.

"Burglary is one thing, murder is another."

Fyle, who lived nearby in Goodhew Road with his girlfriend, was not found to have any alcohol or drugs in his system when he was arrested.

He has admitted burgling the two addresses and to being in possession of a knife, however he denies that he committed the murder or manslaughter of Mrs Hastings.