03/21/2013 03:22 EDT | Updated 05/21/2013 05:12 EDT

Man, 45, sentenced for 1983 murder of 70-year-old woman; no parole until 2018

SARNIA, Ont. - A 45-year-old man has been handed a life sentence with no chance of parole until 2018 for the first-degree murder of an elderly woman in southwestern Ontario three decades ago.

Christopher Ellacott was a 15-year-old high school student in Petrolia, Ont., at the time 70-year-old Velma Thomson was sexually assaulted and murdered in her home in October 1983.

Ellacott was sentenced Thursday after Superior Court Justice John Desotti lifted a publication ban on his identity, ruling he would be sentenced as an adult, not as a youth offender.

Ellacott will be eligible to apply for parole in late 2018, after taking into account 549 days he spent in jail awaiting his sentencing and will be under lifetime supervision upon any release.

Crown attorney Diane Foster says Ellacott was no little boy when he raped and murdered the five-foot-tall, 90-pound hairdresser in cold blood.

Thomson's half-naked body was found face down in a pool of blood. Her throat had been slit.

Court heard Ellacott's right thumbprint was found on the vinyl tile floor near Thomson's body. A DNA profile that matched his was found in crime scene semen deposits.

In a strange twist that helped solve the cold case, an identification officer had carried the crime scene thumbprint for years and eventually got a match during a random check at a fingerprinting convention. It turned out Ellacott's print was still on file for a minor offence while he was in college.

The thumbprint hit eventually led to Ellacott's arrest in Owen Sound, Ont., in June 2008. A jury convicted him in April 2012.

Defence lawyer John Norris called for a 10-year youth sentence during his earlier submission, saying it would be a "just sanction" for a man whose nearly 30 years of uneventful life since the murder shows he is a low risk to reoffend.

Norris told court a psychiatric assessment found no residual problem, adding there was no need for lifetime supervision.

But Desotti pointed out that Ellacott violently sexually assaulted and stabbed to death a frail and frightened woman in her home.

Ellacott's explanation for the DNA evidence and the thumbprint was a "lame, cobbled contrivance" that revealed something sinister about him, Desotti said.

Ellacott expressed his "deepest sympathy" to the woman's family but denied responsibility when he briefly addressed the court last year after being convicted. It has been previously indicated he intends to appeal the conviction.

(CFOS, BlackburnNews.com)