Woman jailed for life for murdering OAP with wine bottle

A woman was jailed for life with a minimum term of 30 years today for killing a 91-year-old man with a bottle of wine.

Melanie Cole, 49, battered retired builder William Reilly over his head with a bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, four days after last Christmas.

Mr Reilly was found covered in blood sitting on the edge of his bed by his son James at their home in Tower Gardens, Tottenham, north London.

He suffered head and face injuries after being clubbed with the the full bottle of wine and then a bottle of liqueur, the Old Bailey heard.

The pensioner, registered blind and almost completely deaf, died a week later in hospital after developing pneumonia.

Zoe Johnson, prosecuting, said Cole killed Mr Reilly for the money he had in his coat pocket.

She said: "He was murdered for money."

Cole had previously stolen money from him after befriending his family.

She used to turn up unannounced and was the last person to visit the house before Mr Reilly was attacked.

Cole, of Culford Road, Islington, north London, was found guilty of murder.

Judge David Paget told her: "It may be that you will never be released and may die in prison.

"You battered to death a 91-year-old man in his home in order to get money from him for drink or drugs. It may have been only £20.

"What is truly shocking is the brutality of what you did."

It was the third time Cole had appeared at the Old Bailey charged with murder.

She was formally acquitted of murder in 2005 when two juries failed to reach verdicts in the case of Robin Williams, 47.

Mr Williams was hit over the head with a bottle and stabbed. He was found in a bath at his Tottenham home.

The jury was not told of the previous case because it would have been prejudicial, the court heard.

The judge agreed with the decision but criticised the Crown Prosecution Service's handling of the case, which he said had left Miss Johnson disadvantaged.

Mr Reilly, who was born in Prison, Balla, Co Mayo, Ireland, was part of a large family.

His son Sean said in a statement he was much loved by all his friends and family and would be greatly missed.

He had been killed in a "brutal and mindless act".

Mr Reilly said: "He stood for decency and integrity - qualities which Melanie Cole knew nothing about."

Detective Chief Inspector Steven Lawrence said outside court: "Melanie Cole is an evil woman.

"Bill was a well-known figure in the local community. He was a hardworking family man who had worked up until the age of 78 years old as a builder.

"He was a widower with three sons and six grandchildren whose life was sacrificed in order to feed Cole's addiction to drink and drugs."

PA

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk