A man has been convicted of murdering two elderly people in their own homes, and stealing rings from their fingers during the attacks.

Michael Weir, 52, struck more than 20 years ago, but was convicted after advances in DNA technology led to his arrest.

He beat up war veteran Leonard Harris, 78, after breaking into his flat in East Finchley on January 28, 1998. Weir stole a signet ring and a gold watch from Mr Harris, and also beat Mr Harris's wife Trudie, who had dementia.

On March 5, 1998, Weir broke into a flat in Kensington where 83-year old Rose Seferian was alone. He beat her and stole rings from her fingers, including her wedding ring with her husband's initials.

Ms Seferian died in hospital a month later from her injuries.

Rose Seferian Credit: Metropolitan Police

A palm print was recovered from inside the flat on a window frame where Weir broke in but it was not matched to the defendant until 2017, the court heard.

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

Giving evidence, labourer Weir admitted he had a long history of stealing to get money for drugs.

But he denied being at Mr Harris's East Finchley flat or Ms Seferian's Kensington home and provided no explanation for the forensic evidence.On being arrested for the murders 19 years later, he said he felt "angry and upset".

Nothing can ever take away the pain of Leonard and Rose’s families but we hope this conviction brings them some kind of closure.

Detective Chief Inspector Shaun Fitzgerald, Metropolitan Police