Danville Neil Bio – Danville Neil Wiki
Danville Neil, a violent burglar who killed an elderly brother and sister in a botched robbery, has been jailed for life after “dodging justice for nearly 30 years”.
Danville Neil is 65 years old.
DETAIL OF INCIDENCE:
Danville Neil, 65, attacked Second World War veteran William Bryan, 71, and 74-year-old widow Anne Castle during a break-in at their East London home in August 1993.
The pensioners were beaten and restrained as their flat was ransacked in the search for valuables.
Following a trial at the Old Bailey, Neil was found guilty of Mr. Bryan’s murder and Mrs. Castle’s manslaughter.
Jailing him, Mrs. Justice Cheema-Grubb said: “You dodged justice for nearly 30 years; now justice has caught up with you.”
Neil was handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 32 years.
The judge later said: “This was a notorious and universally appalling crime, both because of your history and the doubly fatal consequences of what you did.”
She 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 that was far more serious.”
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, the Old Bailey was told.
Mrs. Castle suffered a heart attack, and Mr. Bryan went into cardiac arrest after being beaten and smothered during the night-time raid.
No one witnessed the attack, but neighbors heard screams, suggesting a “prolonged burglary and attack,” jurors heard.
Mrs. Justice Cheema-Grubb told the court: “The suffering of one of them was compounded by knowing that the other had died or was dying. That is inescapable.
“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 August 23, 1993, and found Mrs. Castle’s body slumped in an armchair, with her brother lying on the floor.
Jurors were shown images of the scene, with cushions up-ended on the sofa, broken glass from a vase, a lampshade askew in the corner, a pair of glasses on the floor, and Mrs. Castle’s handbag on the ground with the contents spilling out.
A hammer and a screwdriver were recovered from the crime scene.
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.
A couple was beaten with an iron bar, and the wife was smothered with a pillow as their three children slept in Penge, south London.
The husband’s hands were tied up with a belt, and Neil attempted to pull the wife’s ring from her finger.
Although no children were harmed, Neil told the couple: “Your kid’s dead, right we’ve killed your little girl, got it? Tell us where the money is or we’ll smash your heads in.”
Two months later, Neil assaulted another woman after breaking into her home in Norbury, south London, before making off with a music center and £15 in cash.
He was jailed for the two violent burglaries and released on license 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.