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Addict who battered neighbour to death handed 21-year minimum jail term

A heroin addict who bludgeoned her elderly neighbour to death with a rolling pin has been jailed for at least 21 years for the brutal murder.

Sandra Weir launched her attack on defenceless Mary Logie in the pensioner's own home in Leven, Fife, last January.

The 82-year-old grandmother, also known as Rae, suffered 31 injuries to her head and neck - including multiple skull fractures - and sustained defensive wounds as she tried to fend off her attacker.

Weir then left her victim lying seriously injured but alive for hours before returning to deliver the fatal blows, prosecutors believe.

In the months prior to the killing, Weir, 41, had befriended the pensioner but was in fact siphoning off cash from her account to fund her drug habit.

Weir was convicted of murder by a jury at the High Court in Edinburgh last month.

Judge Michael O'Grady QC, who previously described the manner of Mrs Logie's death as "breathtakingly wicked", handed the killer an automatic life term when she returned to the court for sentencing on Thursday.

He ordered her to spend a minimum of 21 years behind bars before she can even be considered for release.

Regular churchgoer Mrs Logie was found battered to death in the living-room of her first-floor flat in Green Gates on January 5 last year.

She had planned to visit a friend in hospital on the day in question but never turned up. She had spent Christmas with one of her sons in England not long before her death.

Weir denied murder and pleaded alibi, claiming she was elsewhere at the time, but the truth was she was the one who had lashed out violently at the pensioner.

Weir became close to Mrs Logie and acted as her unofficial carer, but she had been a drug addict since her 20s and had racked up debts.

Described by detectives as a "callous and uncaring individual", Weir regularly exploited Mrs Logie for financial gain.

The motive for the brutal homicide may never be fully known but police suspect it was fuelled by Weir's greed.

Investigators believe the killer initially assaulted Mrs Logie in the morning. Weir returned in the evening to inflict the fatal blows.

Mrs Logie's death had a profound impact on the local community where she had lived an active life, with lots of friends.

Detective Chief Inspector Keith Hardie, of Police Scotland's major investigation team, said after the verdict: "The level of violence inflicted upon Mary, coupled with the prolonged period of bullying and intimidation, demonstrated Weir's complete disregard for the wellbeing of her victim.

"This was a very, very brutal and horrific attack committed by a despicable individual."

Passing sentence, Mr O'Grady QC said nothing could diminish the "callous and cruel and utterly heartless" nature of the crime.

He told Weir he could only impose one sentence for the crime of murder, that of life imprisonment.

Fixing the punishment part of the sentence at 21 years, he said: "You have clearly been a troubled young woman and it may be that some of your problems have not been of your own making.

"I will not rehearse what I had to say on the occasion of your conviction. But what I said then remains true.

"And, in my view, nothing can diminish the callous and cruel and utterly heartless nature of this crime. It is beyond any meaningful mitigation."

The sentence means Weir will either be imprisoned or on licence for the rest of her life. Her eventual release from custody is a matter for the Parole Board, not the courts.

Weir maintains her position that she is innocent of the charges, a stance she has adopted consistently since Mrs Logie's death.

Regarding Weir's apparent lack of emotion in court, defence QC Murray Macara said he had specifically advised her not to do anything which would draw any attention to herself in court.

The solicitor advocate added she has been moved from Saughton jail in Edinburgh to Cornton Vale prison near Stirling because she has expressed suicidal thoughts.

Following the hearing, a family member, believed to be Mrs Logie's son Ronald, said: "Justice was served but we would have wanted more."

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