November 17, 2019
And it only took 21 years to convict him.
Or rather, convict him a second time.
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 link the killings but DNA testing connected Weir to both 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 “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“.
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 watch Mr Harris had taken from a German soldier during World War Two 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, 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.
Leonard Harris and Rose Seferian.