A woman has been jailed for life for the “unbelievably brutal” murder of a vulnerable Huntington’s disease sufferer by repeatedly stabbing her to death at her flat.
Lucy Casey, 44, from Kilburn, north London, was found guilty of murdering 55-year-old mother-of-one Hannah Leonard, following a trial at the Old Bailey.
Casey had been out socialising and drinking with the victim at the Sir Colin Campbell pub in Kilburn High Road on the evening of Monday, February 5.
They then returned to Ms Leonard’s nearby flat in Swiss Cottage, at about 11.45pm, with Casey leaving three hours later.
In that time, Ms Leonard had been stabbed with knives and a pair of scissors.
Judge Anthony Leonard QC said Casey had made the most of her victim’s “generous nature” to obtain alcohol.
He said the brutal violence inflicted on Ms Leonard had lasted a considerable time and had an element of “sadism” to it.
Jailing Casey for a minimum of 22 years at the Old Bailey on Monday, he added: “You were in that flat for just under three hours.
“I mention that because I judge that the violence that was inflicted on Hannah Leonard must have taken up a very considerable time.
“It was long enough to be rightly described as having an element of sadism about it.
“This was an unbelievably brutal attack.”
Ms Leonard’s body was discovered by a painter, who saw her lying lifeless on the kitchen floor through the window as he carried out his work on February 9.
Judge Leonard said that although Casey could not have been expected to know about Ms Leonard’s Huntington’s disease, she was still vulnerable.
He said she used a knife and a pair of scissors to stab her victim 55 times.
Casey’s co-accused, James Whitaker, 29, also from Kilburn, was cleared of the murder.
There were angry scenes from family members in court as the jury returned its verdicts.
One woman cried out: “Rot in hell. You are a murderer.”
After the sentence there were shouts of “yes” and clapping from family members.
In mitigation, Henry Blaxland QC said Casey had been “emotionally damaged” for many years.
In a written statement from the CPS, Sally-Anne Russell said: “This was a brutal attack on a vulnerable woman inside her own home by someone who was known to her.
“The victim sustained multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma to her body.
“Only Casey knows exactly what happened and why Hannah was killed.
“She showed no remorse throughout the trial and denied any involvement, but she was linked to the crime scene by forensic evidence and CCTV footage which showed her entering and leaving the building with some of Hannah Leonard’s belongings.
“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Hannah Leonard.
“We hope this conviction provides some level of comfort to them.”