Man jailed for murder of 87-year old woman attacked in Warren Road

Photo via Surrey Police Rosemary Hill died in June 2020

A man has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of 87-year-old Rosemary Hill who he attacked in Warren Road last year.

Guy Douglas Unmack, 46, of Warren Road, Reigate, was told at Guildford Crown Court that he would serve a minimum term of 19 years in prison.

Surrey Police said after the sentencing on 24 June:

Rosemary Hill was a well-known figure in the local community and was cutting sprigs of rosemary from a neighbour’s garden when she was attacked by Unmack on Sunday, 21 June [2020].

As a resident of Warren Road for many years, Rosemary was retired and lived alone following the death of her husband. She was a talented musician who, prior to her career teaching across Surrey, enjoyed an international career as a clarinettist in multiple renowned orchestras. Rosemary had expressed how much she was looking forward to spending more time with her children and grand-daughter with plans to go on holiday with them once the lockdown had lifted.

On the day of the assault, Rosemary had enjoyed a walk in the local area with her son. At around 5pm, she went to a neighbour’s front garden to cut some herbs. Without warning, she was approached by Unmack who hit her over the back of the head with a cricket bat, causing her to fall to the ground unconscious. Witnesses described it as a completely unprovoked attack.

Mrs Hill was taken to hospital where she sadly died four days later. A post-mortem examination recorded her cause of death as a severe blunt force head injury.

Speaking after her tragic death her children said that Rosemary’s untimely death has caused them to lose what should have been happy family time together. 

“A life full of caring and enabling other people to achieve their full potential was cruelly cut short.”

Unmack was arrested shortly after the attack on suspicion of attempt murder. Following his arrest, he was assessed and deemed to be mentally unfit for interview and detention. He was place under an involuntary order under Section 2 of the Mental Health Act and was subsequently moved to a secure hospital.

The investigation, named Operation Baritone continued, with officers working to gather the evidence required, resulting in Unmack being re-arrested once fit to be interviewed and subsequently charged with murder on Wednesday 2, October.

Unmack was found guilty of murder at Guildford Crown Court on 10 June after a trial lasting a week-and-a-half. He was sentenced there on 24 June.

Following the sentencing, senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Charlotte Rimmer, said: “Rosemary Hill’s murder shocked the local community, and left those who knew her bereft.

“Her family are devastated following her death and our thoughts remain with them at this extremely difficult time. While nothing can bring Mrs Hill back, I hope that the trial and sentence today will give them some form of closure.”

A SurreyLive article reports that the court heard that Unmack was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2008, had a drinking problem and was “intoxicated” at the time of the offence. The article includes remarks from the judge and Mrs Hill’s family.

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Surrey Police Guy Douglas Unmack (credit: Surrey Police)