A career criminal from Lewisham who was jailed for life three decades after he killed two elderly siblings during a break-in has lost his bid to challenge his convictions. 

Danville Neil, previously of Sandrock Road, killed Second World War veteran William Bryan, 71, and his sister, 74-year-old widow Anne Castle, during a break-in at their Bethnal Green home in August 1993. 

William and Anne were beaten and restrained as Neil ransacked their flat in the search for valuables. 

Anne suffered a heart attack and William went into cardiac arrest after being beaten and smothered during the night-time raid. 

Neil evaded justice for 30 years until DNA was found on the knot of a strap used to tie William’s hands. 

In 2022 Neil, aged 65, was jailed for a minimum of 32 years after being convicted of the murder of William and manslaughter of Anne. 

Violent career criminal Danville Neil Violent career criminal Danville Neil (Image: Met Police) The sentencing judge, Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb, said Neil’s actions were “unscrupulous” and “lacking in mercy”, describing the crime as “notorious and universally appalling”. 

At a hearing on Tuesday, three judges dismissed Neil’s bid to challenge his convictions, with Lord Justice Edis, sitting with Mrs Justice May and Judge Heather Norton, stating that there was not an “arguable ground” on which he could appeal. 

During the trial Neil, who had convictions for some 15 burglaries between 1973 and 1998, told jurors that he accepted his DNA was found at the scene of the killings but denied he had been there or knew the victims. 

Jurors heard that Neil pulled two wedding rings and two diamond rings from Mrs Castle’s fingers but failed to find some £4,000 in cash, some of which had been stashed in socks. 

No-one witnessed the attack, but screams were heard by neighbours, the court was told. 

Police were called to the address on August 23 1993 and found Mrs Castle’s body slumped in an armchair, with her brother lying on the floor. 

Anne Castle and William BryanAnne Castle and William Bryan (Image: PA) The court also heard how how in 1984 he carried out another two home invasions in three months in which the occupants were physically assaulted. 

A couple were beaten with an iron bar and the wife also smothered with a pillow as their three children slept in their home in Penge, south London. 

The husband’s hands were tied up with a belt and Neil attempted to pull the wife’s ring from her finger. 

Although no children were harmed, Neil told the couple: “Your kid’s dead, right we’ve killed your little girl, got it. Tell us where the money is or we’ll smash your heads in.” 

Two months later, Neil assaulted another woman after breaking into her home in Norbury, south London, before making off with a music centre and £15 in cash. 

He was jailed for the two violent burglaries and released on licence in August 1992 – a year before the double murders.