Case Studies
DNA Helped Solve 30 Years Old Cold Case of Killed Siblings

DNA Helped Solve 30 Years Old Cold Case of Killed Siblings

DNA is among those useful evidences that a person cannot manipulate. It has always proved its reliability and have maintained its status in the following case too.

Danville Neil, a 65 years old man, have been sentenced to imprisonment for the murders of elderly siblings, William Bryan and Anne Castle. The hero of his conviction was his DNA, which was identified by the police on a binocular strap used to tie William.

Mr. Bryan (71 years old) was a World War II veteran who was residing with his widow sister Mrs. Castle (74 years old) at their east London home.

It was in the 2020, when officers reviewing the deaths of the elderly siblings in 1993, submitted the binoculars strap used to tie up William, for forensic testing which have led to the arrest of Neil.

The advancements in forensic technology have helped the scientists to establish that a DNA sample taken from beneath a knot in the strap, which was used to tie William’s hands, belonged to Neil.

Neil, was convicted at the Old Bailey on Friday, 18 November for the murder of William and manslaughter of Anne following a two week trial.

It has been reported that both the pensioners were beaten and restrained as their flat was ransacked in the search for valuables. Neil pulled two wedding rings and two diamond rings from Mrs. Castle’s fingers but failed to find some £4,000 in cash, some of which had been stashed in socks.

Mrs. Castle suffered a heart attack and Mr. Bryan went into cardiac arrest after being beaten and smothered during the night-time raid.

The neighbors told that they heard the screams but none of them witnessed the attack which suggested the incident as a “prolonged burglary and attack”.

The hearing judge, Mrs. Justice Cheema-Grubb said: “You dodged justice for nearly 30 years, now justice has caught up with you. This was a notorious and universally appalling crime, both because of your history and the doubly fatal consequences of what you did.”

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.”

The judge called Neil’s actions as “unscrupulous” and “lacking in mercy”, and the siblings died as a result of his greed.

It had be represented in the court that, Neil had a string of convictions for some 15 burglaries between 1973 and 1998.

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

During his trial, Neil accepted that 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, that he had sold Mr. Bryan binoculars at a car boot sale and it was the strap which was used to bind him.

But Mrs. Castle’s grandson remembered his great uncle was keen on gadgets and had two sets of binoculars which he would have bought new.

However, the jury were able to see through this fabrication and he was convicted.

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