Sadistic burglar makes legal history by becoming first person in Britain to be convicted of the same murder TWICE after DNA proved he killed two pensioners in raids on their home

  • Michael Weir murdered Leonard Harris, 78, and Rose Seferian, 83, in 1998    
  • He was convicted in July 1999 but acquitted following an appeal in May 2000 
  • Crown Prosecution Service was set to overturn the appeal but missed deadline 
  • Weir, 52, was re-arrested in 2018 thanks to new DNA evidence coming to light 
  • He continued to deny both murders but was found guilty in historic case today 

Michael Weir, 52, faces up to 30 years in prison after being found guilty of two charges of murder

Michael Weir, 52, faces up to 30 years in prison after being found guilty of two charges of murder

A sadistic thief who tortured, robbed and murdered two defenceless pensioners in their own homes today became the first defendant to be convicted twice of the same murder in a case that broke new legal ground.  

Michael Weir, 52, viciously attacked war veteran Leonard Harris, 78, and mother-of-three Rose Seferian, 83, during burglaries in 1998. 

Connections between the two deaths were not made at the time.

But Weir was then arrested for Mr Harris's murder in June 1998 after DNA evidence from a glove fFFound at the scene linked him to the attack.

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

The Crown Prosecution Service had been set to overturn that decision, but then missed a deadline to appeal to the House of Lords by one day. 

Then in 2017, a palm print recovered from inside Ms Seferian’s flat on a window frame where Weir broke in was finally matched to the defendant.

By 2018, new DNA evidence in the Harris murder had also been obtained and the palm prints from both scenes had been matched to Weir.

Weir was re-arrested on March 26, 2018 for both murders and continuously denied both offences.

The killer showed no emotion in the dock as a jury convicted him of two charges of murder today. 

Mrs Justice McGowan today told jurors they had made legal history after they found Weir guilty of both murders following an Old Bailey trial.

It is also the first time a second murder charge has been added to a double jeopardy case, brought in light of new and compelling evidence following a change in the law in 2005. 

Leonard Harris with his wife Gertrude. Michael Weir has today been found guilty of murdering the war veteran

Leonard Harris with his wife Gertrude. Michael Weir has today been found guilty of murdering the war veteran 

Weir had tied Mr Harris to a chair in his living room while he tortured his 81-year-old wife, who suffered from dementia, in the bedroom in January 1998.

Estate agent Jeremy Clapich found Mr Harris on the first-floor landing on his block of flats in East Finchley, north London, bleeding from his skull, face, and groin. 

Rose Seferian was killed after she was assaulted in Kensington, London, in 1998

Rose Seferian was killed after she was assaulted in Kensington, London, in 1998

Weir had made off with an 18-carat gold Zenith watch which the veteran had taken from a German soldier. 

Weeks later, Weir murdered Rose Seferian, 82, at her flat in Kensington, west London, inflicting horrific injuries before ripping three rings from her fingers and taking money from her handbag.

The jewellery, worth around £100,000, included a gold wedding ring with her husband's initials engraved on it and the date of their marriage; a diamond solitaire gold ring and a silver diamond ring.

Ms Seferian managed to raise the alarm and her son found her covered in blood and 'almost unrecognisable' from her injuries.

Mr Harris died in hospital on 16 June 1998 while Ms Seferian died a month after she was attacked.

Prior to his death Mr Harris had been a carer to his wife. Following the attack, her health rapidly deteriorated and she died around two years later.  

Prosecutor Tom Little QC explained to the jury the unique history of the case, believed to be the first to involve a defendant being found guilty of the same murder twice.

It is also the first time a second murder charge has been added to a double jeopardy case, brought in light of new and compelling evidence following a change in the law in 2005.  

Gertrude and Leonard Harris. Mr Harris was killed by Weir in 1998. Prior to his death Mr Harris had been a carer to his wife. Following the attack, her health rapidly deteriorated and she died around two years later

Gertrude and Leonard Harris. Mr Harris was killed by Weir in 1998. Prior to his death Mr Harris had been a carer to his wife. Following the attack, her health rapidly deteriorated and she died around two years later

Weir had told his lawyers the police had planted his DNA at the scene, and he was the victim of vindictive 'fit-up'.

Prosecutor Tom Little told jurors: 'This is the stuff of Hollywood movies and fantasies, and I do not shy away from putting it in those terms. You are being treated as fools.

'There is no plant or fit up here. You know that Leonard Harris must have crawled along that hallway fleeing having been attacked.'

The stolen jewellery has never been recovered an police believe Weir sold the cherished items for a few pounds to buy drugs.

After Weird was found guilty of the murders Mr Little told the jury it was important that they did not know he had been convicted of Mr Harris' murder 20 years ago, adding: 'You may see some publicity about the awful mistake made in 2000.'

Weir, from Hackney, east London, denied two counts of murder but was convicted of both.

Mrs Justice McGowan was unable to fix a sentencing date today but said it was likely to be before Christmas.

Mrs Justice McGowan warned Weir he now faces a life sentence with a minimum of 30 years before he can be released. 

Jewel thief Michael Weir guilty of murdering war veteran and woman in burglaries in 1998 

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