A man who killed two elderly siblings in a "heartless attack" nearly 30 years ago has been convicted after police identified his DNA on a binocular strap used to tie up one of the victims.

Danville Neil was arrested in 2020 when officers reviewing the deaths of siblings Anne Castle and William Bryan in their Bethnal Green flat in 1993 submitted the item for forensic testing.

Scientists were able to establish that a DNA sample taken from beneath a knot in the strap - which was used to tie William's hands - belonged to Neil.

East London Advertiser: William's feet were tied with the tie from his dressing gown and his hands bound with this binoculars strapWilliam's feet were tied with the tie from his dressing gown and his hands bound with this binoculars strap (Image: Metropolitan Police)

Neil, 65, was convicted at the Old Bailey on Friday (November 18) of the murder of William and manslaughter of Anne following a two-week trial.

He will be sentenced at the same court on Friday (November 25).

Detective Chief Inspector Joanna York of the Met's Specialist Crime North Command called the killings "violent and heartless" and 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."

Anne and William were killed in the Minerva Estate flat they shared during a burglary at some point during the evening of Sunday, August 22 into Monday, August 23, 1993.

During the incident, the property was ransacked and items were stolen, both victims were assaulted and William also restrained.

Anne, 74, suffered a heart attack and William, 71, was smothered, causing him to go into cardiac arrest.

East London Advertiser: William worked as a messenger in the CityWilliam worked as a messenger in the City (Image: Metropolitan Police)

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 [William] 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."

East London Advertiser: Anne worked as a cleaner at the Bethnal Green Hospital and then in a local bakeryAnne worked as a cleaner at the Bethnal Green Hospital and then in a local bakery (Image: Metropolitan Police)

Officers attended on the evening of August 23, 1993 and found Anne slumped in an armchair and William lying on the floor on his side with his hands and feet tied.

Post mortem examinations indicated that Anne had bruises on her arms, some of which seemed to suggest that she had been restrained. It was concluded that she had suffered a heart attack due to the stress of the incident.

William had injuries consistent with blows to the head and restraint injuries. His cause of death was given as asphyxia and a heart attack.

On October 1, 2020 officers carried out a search warrant at Neil's Lewisham home and he was arrested. When initially interviewed he denied all knowledge of the incident.

The jury heard how just one year before the incident Neil had been released from prison after serving eight years for two south London burglaries in 1984, in which he assaulted female victims. Following his release from prison, Neil continued to commit burglaries and as a result his DNA profile was put on the database.

Accepting that his DNA was on the item, Neil then claimed that William must have purchased the binoculars from him at a car boot sale.