The Old Bailey

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Michael Weir was convicted after a trial at the Old Bailey

A jewel thief who beat two elderly people to death in their own homes has been convicted of their murders two decades on.

Michael Weir fatally attacked 78-year-old Leonard Harris and Rose Seferian, 83, in 1998, the Old Bailey was told.

The original investigation missed clues to the killer but DNA testing linked Weir to the London attacks after 20 years, the court heard.

Weir, 52, of Hackney, had denied two counts of murder.

Prosecutor Tom Little QC told the jury the “defenceless pensioners” had been struck repeatedly and knocked to the ground then left for dead.

Weir was originally found guilty of murdering Mr Harris by an Old Bailey jury in July 1999, but his conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal in 2000 on a technicality.

He was retried under the so-called double jeopardy law when new forensic evidence came to light, and prosecutors believe Weir is “the first convicted man to be convicted twice”.

Trial judge Mrs Justice McGowan told the jury they had made “legal history”.

Palm print

On 28 January 1998, Weir broke into Mr Harris’s flat in East Finchley, north London, leaving him with serious head injuries.

The pensioner was found by an estate agent while his wife, who suffered from dementia, was left badly injured on a bedroom floor.

An 18-carat gold Zenith watch Mr Harris had taken from a German soldier during the Second World War and his gold ring were missing.

Three days after the attack, police found a palm print on the bedroom door but missed the match to the defendant at the time, because a comparative print was not the best quality, the court heard.

On 5 March, Weir violently attacked Ms Seferian in her bedroom when she was at home on her own.

He stole jewellery including a gold wedding ring with her husband’s initials and the date of their marriage engraved on it, a diamond solitaire gold ring, and a silver diamond ring, as well as cash.

Sentencing was adjourned until a date to be fixed.

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