A drunk man who murdered a vulnerable 90-year-old woman in her Kirkcaldy home after he became angry over a problem with his mobile phone was ordered to serve at least 18 years in jail.
Thomas Brogan brutally battered well-liked widow Georgina Barnett, known as ‘Dodie’, who was heard pleading with him to stop during the fatal attack.
A judge told unemployed Brogan, (46,) at the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday (Wednesday) there was only one sentence he could pass, life imprisonment.
Lord Pentland stressed that the 18 year term was only a minimum period of imprisonment and told Brogan: “It does not mean you will be released after 18 years or indeed at all.”
He said Brogan had pleaded guilty to the “horrific murder” of Mrs Barnett in her home in Ramsay Road and added: “At no time had she done you any harm. She was a somewhat frail old lady but managed to live independently.
“You spent much of the day drinking heavily, as you often did, and it is clear you became very drunk.
“You became angry and agitated over a trivial problem with your mobile phone.”
The judge said that police officers called to the victim’s home after the fatal attack were confronted with “a terrible scene”.
Mrs Barnett repeatedly asked officers why he had hit her, but later in hospital said it was because of a SIM card.
Lord Pentland said Brogan subjected his victim to “a vicious and sustained assault” during which he repeatedly struck her with considerable force.
The judge said: “It seems clear you utterly lost control of yourself.”
Lord Pentland said he took into account aggravating features such as the unprovoked nature of the attack, the high level of violence fuelled by gross alcohol consumption and that the victim was elderly and vulnerable. He told Brogan he would have faced a minimum term of 22 years, but for his guilty plea to murder.
Osteoporosis sufferer Mrs Barnett died in Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy, five days after the attack at her home on June 25 following complications after suffering head injuries.
Brogan, of Seafield View, Kirkcaldy, earlier admitted murdering Mrs Barnett by repeatedly striking her on the head and body resulting in her being so severely injured that she died on June 30.
The murder victim suffered brain injury, bruising, cuts and 11 fractured ribs and sternum.
Brogan was known to her through a neighbour who lived across the hall. He and the neighbour were “drinking associates” and they would sometimes visit her.
On the day of the attack, neighbours heard sounds coming from Mrs Barnett’s flat, including a loud crashing noise, and Brogan was heard shouting.
Police were alerted and found him with his hands covered in blood shouting in “an unintelligible fashion”.
Paramedics arrived and saw the pensioner was extensively injured.
When Brogan was taken to Dunfermline police station he said: “I done it. I done everything.”
Defence counsel Mark Stewart QC earlier said Brogan wished publicly to apologise to all those affected.
He said Brogan, who has previous convictions including possession of heroin and an offensive weapon, had found his behaviour on the night of the attack “entirely in comprehensible”.
Police Scotland response
Detective Inspector Gary Boyd, who led the investigation, said: “Only Thomas Brogan knows why he carried out this unprovoked and violent attack on his helpless victim, who was a much loved member of the local
community. His actions demonstrate how dangerous an individual he is. No prison term, however, can undo the hurt Thomas Brogan has caused the family of Georgina Barnett and I can only hope that they can now move on from this ordeal and begin to put their lives back together.”