Home News Danville Neil: DNA evidence sees man jailed for siblings’ killing

Danville Neil: DNA evidence sees man jailed for siblings’ killing

Danville Neil: DNA evidence sees man jailed for siblings' killing

Danville Neil, 65, “eluded justice for years” after attacking WW2 veteran William Bryan, 71, and widow Anne Castle, 74, during a break-in at their east London home in August 1993.

Neil was found guilty of Mr Bryan’s murder and Mrs Castle’s manslaughter.

At the Old Bailey on Friday, he was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 32 years.

Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb stated, “You evaded justice for nearly 30 years, and now justice has caught up with you.”

Danville Neil: DNA evidence sees man jailed for siblings' killing
Danville Neil was a violent burglar with a string of convictions, the Old Bailey heard

“This was a notorious and universally appalling crime, both because of your history and the doubly fatal consequences of what you did,” she later stated.

The pensioners were beaten and restrained while their apartment was searched for valuables.

The judge told Neil his actions were “unscrupulous” and “lacking in mercy”, and the siblings died “as a result of your greed”.

She added: “You were a well-established and experienced career burglar by 1993.

“But you had it in you to offend in a way which was far more serious.”

Neil removed two wedding rings and two diamond rings from Mrs Castle’s fingers but was unable to locate £4,000 in cash, some of which had been hidden in socks, according to the Old Bailey.

Mrs. Castle had a heart attack, and Mr. Bryan collapsed after being beaten and smothered during the nighttime raid.

Although no one witnessed the attack, screams heard by neighbors suggested a “prolonged burglary and attack,” jurors heard.

“The suffering of one of them was compounded by knowing that the other had died or was dying, that is inescapable,” Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb told the court.

“They were left virtually opposite each other, it is not difficult to imagine, though no-one would want to, the anguish they must have endured at the suffering of the other.”

Police were called to the address on 23 August 1993 and found Mrs Castle’s body slumped in an armchair, with her brother lying on the floor.

Danville Neil: DNA evidence sees man jailed for siblings' killing
Anne Castle and William Bryan were killed during a break-in at their east London home

The murders went unsolved for nearly 30 years until Neil’s DNA was found on the knot of a strap used to tie Mr Bryan’s hands.

The court heard Neil had a string of convictions for some 15 burglaries between 1973 and 1998.

In 1984, he carried out two home invasions in three months in which the occupants were physically assaulted.

He was jailed for the violent burglaries and released on licence in August 1992 – a year before the double murders.

During his trial, Neil had accepted his DNA was found at the scene of the killings, but denied he had been there or knew the victims.

He claimed an innocent explanation for the forensic link was that he had sold Mr Bryan binoculars at a car boot sale and it was the strap which was used to bind him.

Mrs Castle’s grandson, on the other hand, remembered his great uncle was into gadgets and had two sets of binoculars that he would have bought new.

The victims had lived together in a Bethnal Green flat since Mr Bryan was invalided out of the army in 1945, with Mrs Castle widowed in 1987.

Mrs Castle’s granddaughter read a statement to the court in which she described her grandmother as a “pillar of the community who was well loved and respected by everyone.”

It went on to say that the couple “exhibited all that is good in people.”

source:summarybio.com