The family of murder victim Norma Bell have said they will never forgive Gareth Dack for taking away their loving mum.
Norma Bell, 79, was a much-loved mother-of-nine from Hartlepool, who had fostered more than 50 children with her late husband John.
Dack is facing a life sentence after being convicted of murder at Teesside Crown Court.
In a statement read out following the conviction, the family said their lives had been turned upside down.
The family said: “The events of the third of April last year turned our lives upside down and in the following ten months we have endured pain we did not conceive possible.
“Norma Bell was our confidant, our friend, our crutch to lean on, our shoulder to cry on and not least she was our mam.
“Her murder has left an enormous gap in our lives and forgiveness will never be given.
“Our mother along with our late father John, dedicated her adult life to fostering, looking after children in need, giving them a home, love and a little hope.
“She fostered over 50 children, some for short term and some for longer, she raised six of them alongside her own three children to be a permanent part of the family.”
The family added: “Our mam had a heart as big as a lion.
“After retirement from fostering she was hands on in helping to raise twelve grandchildren.
“She would tease them as to who would be the first to give her a great grandchild. “This is something she dearly looked forward to, yet this is something she will now never get to see.
“Gareth Dack brutally murdered our mother in the place she should have been safest and then burnt out the family home, destroying everything she had for a few quid to feed his drug habit and his actions have left us all in pieces.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank our family and friends for helping to keep those pieces together.
“We would also like to thank everyone involved with the aftermath of this horrific event, from the fire brigade and paramedics who first attended the scene, the forensics and police who gathered all the evidence, the prosecution team, the judge, the jury and the police liaison officers who have had to put up with our constant badgering for answers.
“We would also like to thank you, the press, for respecting our privacy throughout and ask that you continue doing so and let us privately try to put our lives back together.”