Hackney burglar Michael Weir convicted of murdering two pensioners in 1998

Michael Weir has been convicted of murder.

Michael Weir has been convicted of murder. - Credit: Archant

A burglar from Hackney has been convicted of murdering two pensioners in 1998 thanks to advances in DNA technology.

Rose Seferian.

Rose Seferian. - Credit: Archant

Michael Weir, 52, was today found guilty of killing 79-year-old Leonard Harris and Rose Seferian, 83, in separate incidents. He will be sentenced at a later date.

The Old Bailey heard how 21 years ago on March 5 Ms Seferian was alone in her Kensington home when Weir climbed in an open lounge window and subjected her to a brutal assault.

He stole cash and took three rings worth £100,000 from her fingers. She was so badly beaten she was left "almost unrecognisable" when found by her son. She died a month later.

A palm print was taken from an inside window frame and uploaded onto the National Fingerprint Database, but there was no match.

Leonard Harris with his wife Trudie.

Leonard Harris with his wife Trudie. - Credit: Archant

Two years ago, the system was reviewed and the Met matched it to Weir's, implicating him in a separate murder that took place weeks earlier in 1998.

Leonard Harris and his wife Trudie were both assaulted by Weir after he broke into their flat in Aylmer Road, East Finchley on January 28.

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He stole jewellery, including an 18-carat gold watch and left Leonard with serious head injuries. He died in hospital five months later.

Leonard was a carer for Trudie, who had dementia. Following the attack, her health rapidly deteriorated and she died around two years later.

Weir was originally arrested for Leonard's murder after DNA evidence from a glove found at the scene linked him to the attack.

He was convicted in 1999 but acquitted following an appeal in May 2000 when the Court of Appeal ruled evidence provided by the prosecution was inadmissible.

As well as the match of the palm mark in 2017, advances in DNA tech meant a separate blood scraping found in the hallway of Leonard's flat at the time could now be linked to Weir.

Weir was re-arrested in March 2018 for both murders, which he continuously denied.

Det Ch Insp Shaun Fitzgerald, from Specialist Crime, said: "Nothing can ever take away the pain of Leonard and Rose's families but we hope this conviction brings them some kind of closure.

"Weir literally thought he had got away with murder but he now faces a considerable custodial sentence where he will have significant time to reflect on his utterly callous actions towards two completely innocent victims."