Man found guilty of 1993 Bethnal Green double murder of brother and sister thanks to DNA advances

Anne Castle, 74, and her brother William Bryan, 71, were killed  (Family handout)
Anne Castle, 74, and her brother William Bryan, 71, were killed (Family handout)

A career criminal has been found guilty of killing a brother and sister during a Bethnal Green burglary in 1993 after new DNA techniques were used to convict him.

Danville Neil, 65, was found guilty at the Old Bailey of killing Anne Castle, 74, and her brother William Bryan, 71, a Second World War veteran, in their flat nearly 30 years ago.

The victims were beaten, the court heard, while their home was ransacked with Mr Bryan being smothered and his hands tied. Mr Byran went into cardiac arrest while his sister, the widowed Ms Castle, suffered a heart attack.

It was on the strap used to tie Mr Bryan that DNA was found matching that of Neil’s - with the re-offender having been put on a national database due to his previous convictions.

Danville Neil convicted numerous offences (PA)
Danville Neil convicted numerous offences (PA)

Prosecutor Alison Morgan KC told the court: "Their murders were part of a violent burglary that took place in the flat. Their home was ransacked. Jewellery was stolen. They were beaten and restrained.

"The prosecution's case is that it was Danville Neil who entered their address that night to commit a violent burglary, during the course of which he murdered Anne Castle and William Bryan."

Neil, of Lewisham, is set to be sentenced at a later date. He faces a life sentence.

Detective Chief Inspector Joanna Yorke, of the Met’s Specialist Crime North Command, said: “We’ve never given up on this case. Thanks to the determination of my officers and efforts of forensic scientists we have been able to achieve justice for Anne and William, and their family who have waited 29 years for this day to come.“Twenty nine years of not knowing how their loved ones died and who was responsible. That is a pain no one should have to endure and I just hope this result can bring them some small comfort and peace of mind. Their strength and composure throughout this trial is a testament to their values as a family, and I’m sure Anne and William would have been very proud.

“Conversely Neil is a callous and calculated individual, who has continued to deny any involvement in the incident despite the overwhelming forensic evidence against him. He entered the home of Anne and William that night intent on carrying out a burglary. The home they had shared for nearly 50 years. But it was not enough for him to just invade their home and steal from them. Instead he killed them during a violent and heartless attack. I am thankful that he is now out of harm’s way where he belongs.”

Anne’s daughters, Janice and Cynthia, said: “Our mother spent her whole life in east London where she raised her five children, who went on to give her 13 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

“She was the most wonderful loving and caring mother and grandmother who was thoughtful in every way. She always put everyone before herself and was a great pillar of the community – well loved and respected by all who knew her.

“When her brother Billy became ill after the war, our parents brought him to live with us and they both cared and looked after him with the greatest of attention. He remained living with Mum until that dreadful day. The fear they must have experienced will never leave us. Uncle Billy was a kind-hearted, thoughtful and generous uncle to all the family. Always happy and so grateful for how he had been looked after.”