A doctor’s son who murdered one of his late father’s elderly patients faces life in jail.
Sandeep Patel suffocated 97-year-old Annie Temple at her home in Kinglassie, Fife, on October 25, 2019.
The chronic gambler had earlier preyed on Ms Temple for her money.
He had cashed cheques in her name behind her back and chatted to a friend how the pensioner had up to £300,000 savings.
The 38-year-old killed the widow just days after a bid to get his hands on even more money had been spotted by Ms Temple’s bank.
On Tuesday, Patel was convicted of murder following a protracted trial at the High Court in Glasgow.
The medical researcher will learn the minimum he will spend behind bars next month.
Ex-insurance worker Ms Temple – known as Nan – lived alone.
She was known to have only a couple of regular visitors, which included Patel’s mother.
Jurors heard how the pensioner was found dead in her bed.
Police initially did not treat the death as suspicious.
Patel was quizzed by a constable and lied he had not seen Ms Temple the day she died.
Patel said she had been a patient of his father’s and that he had known her “ever since I can recall”.
He claimed he carried out odd jobs for the pensioner including bringing bananas to her.
He said: “The last time was a week Tuesday past. There was an issue with the pressure in her boiler.”
Ms Temple’s friend, Wendy Bradbury, told the trial how she also spoke with Patel and he appeared “perfectly normal” when discussing the pensioner’s death.
However, prosecutors said Ms Temple had been killed with blunt force trauma inflicted on her head and body.
She was also said to have had her airways “obstructed and constricted” by means unknown.
Patel, who lived with his mother in Cardenden, Fife, was charged with murder on November 15, 2019.
Ms Bradbury told how the pensioner “did not trust” Patel.
The witness said: “She had money gone missing from her sideboard.
“She believed the money had been taken by Mr Patel.”
The murder and fraud probe revealed Patel was a self-confessed ‘problem gambler’.
He had bet more than £109,000 between 2016 and 2020, winning just around a quarter of that back.
In desperate need for cash, he used Ms Temple while claiming to be a helpful friend.
Patel cashed a number of cheques – totalling £1500 – in Ms Temple’s name the week prior to her death.
He had then tried to pocket a further £1250 two days before the murder, but suspicious staff at Ms Temple’s bank blocked the payment.
Ms Temple was spoken to and admitted she did not even know she had a cheque book.
It also emerged in June 2019 that Patel had gone with Ms Temple to her bank hoping to transfer more than £4000 for a supposed car purchase.
Staff again did not allow the transaction to go through.
Patel once got a £5 cheque as an overpayment from a car company. He then tried to cash it for £500 by illegally adding two zeroes.
Police examined a number of Patel’s electronic devices, including messages on them.
In one WhatsApp text in January 2019, Patel stated to a friend: “Mrs T got 2-300k in bank.”
He also discussed the house being worth “100k”.
Other messages in the month of the murder revealed Patel being warned about arrears in loan payments. He had earlier asked for a £250 increase.
CCTV evidence also pinned Patel being near to Ms Temple’s home on the morning of the killing.
Judge Michael O’Grady QC remanded Patel in custody as sentencing was deferred until next month for reports.
The trial was hit by several delays mostly sparked by Patel, who appeared in the dock in crutches.
His claims included fears he had Covid, that he could not concentrate on evidence due to “ringing” in his ears and also stated he had not taken medication prior to leaving prison, where he was on remand.
Solicitor advocate Iain Paterson withdrew from defending him to be replaced by QC Mark Stewart.
A total of four new juries were picked before a trial was finally completed.
Following Patel’s conviction, detective superintendent Andrew Patrick, from Police Scotland’s Major Investigation Team, said: “Sandeep Patel will now have to face the consequences of his actions.
“He preyed on an elderly lady purely for financial gain before taking her life.
“The lies and deceit he weaved through the local community in Kinglassie shows a complete disregard for all those around him.
“This was a complex investigation and I would like to thank Annie’s family, friends and those in the wider community who helped officers during this difficult enquiry.
“Our thoughts today are with all who knew Annie and I hope this conviction brings them some degree of comfort.
“Annie was a popular member of the community and her death caused widespread shock in the local area.
“I would like to reassure people that incidents such as this are extremely rare and ask that if anyone has any concerns to please speak to police.”