Michael Fearon, 57, of Littleborough was immediately sentenced to life in prison, the Manchester Evening News reported. A judge in Manchester Crown Court imposed a minimum term of 25 years before parole.
Fearon said he had worked for Kershaw as an odd job man and driver and had a key to his house. He admitted hiding in a closet with rubber gloves, a mallet and a dust sheet with holes cut to allow him to see and emerging when Kershaw returned from a shopping trip.
Investigators said Fearon knew Kershaw often carried large amounts of cash.
Kershaw's body was found by police in his home in Rochdale on Oct. 14, more than a week after he was killed. Fearon, interviewed as a witness, said he had last seen Kershaw Oct. 1, but police, examining tape from security cameras, learned he had been in the area Oct. 4.
"It was well known that Mr. Kershaw often carried large amounts of money in his wallet, sometimes thousands of pounds," Detective Inspector Iain Butler said after Fearon's plea. "With Fearon spending whatever money he had on gambling and in debt, he saw his so-called 'friend' as the ideal target."