A WOMAN who was on trial for the murder of Irish grandmother Hannah Leonard at her London flat has been sentenced to life imprisonment.
Lucy Casey, 44, of Kilburn, Brent was found guilty on Monday and sentenced on the same day.
She must serve a minimum of 22 years.
Her co-accused, James Whitaker, 29, also from Kilburn, was found not guilty of murder.
The body of Ms Leonard, 55, was discovered inside her 10th floor flat in Bray Tower on the Chalcots Estate on Friday, February 9 this year.
The Cork native, who moved to London in the 1980s, had been stabbed to death several days earlier.
A bloodied knife and a pair of bloodstained scissors were found in the flat.
Both weapons had Ms Leonard’s blood on the blades, while traces of Casey’s blood were found on the handles of both weapons as well as the tip of the knife.
Detectives also found Casey’s Superdry jacket in the living room with her ID in one of the pockets.
A post-mortem recorded more than 40 wounds to Ms Leonard’s abdomen, face, neck and torso, several of which would have been fatal if inflicted in isolation.
Patterned bruises were also found on her face and body, possibly caused by the sole of a shoe.
The court heard Ms Leonard had been drinking with Casey in the Sir Colin Campbell pub in Kilburn High Road on Monday, February 5.
They left the pub shortly after 10pm and met Whitaker and a male friend of Casey’s.
After an argument broke out between Casey and her male friend, police arrived and calmed the situation.
The friend went one way while Ms Leonard, Casey and Whitaker went another, eventually getting a taxi to Ms Leonard’s flat.
CCTV showed the three of them enter the elevator at 11.44pm, the last time Ms Leonard was seen alive.
At 2.51am, Whitaker and Casey were captured on CCTV exiting the lift on the ground floor and leaving the block.
Casey was wearing the coat that Ms Leonard had been wearing all evening and was carrying Ms Leonard’s red handbag.
When Casey was arrested on the morning of Sunday, February 11 at the address of the friend she had argued with, Ms Leonard’s coat was found on a table in the living room.
Casey’s trainers appeared to have been washed, however some light bloodstains were visible on the stitching.
She was taken to a south London police station and seen by a doctor who noted she had healing injuries to her right index finger, right middle finger and left thumb.
Whitaker was arrested on the same morning.
Casey declined to answer any questions when interviewed.
On Monday, February 12, Casey and Whitaker were both charged with the murder of Ms Leonard and remanded into custody.
Detective Sergeant Colin McKeen, from the Met's Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “Hannah left her flat on Monday, February 5.
“She met up with Casey and Whitaker who she believed were being friendly towards her.
“Sadly it appears Hannah was the victim of a vicious and sustained attack using bladed implements at the hands of Casey, killing her and leaving her in the flat.
“I hope that Casey’s conviction and sentencing will give Hannah’s family some form of comfort.”