Man Jailed For Murdering Fife Pensioner

A man who murdered a 90-year-old widow in a "vicious and sustained'' attack in her home during a drunken rage over a broken mobile phone has been jailed for at least 18 years.

Thomas Brogan, 46, ``utterly lost control'' of himself when he struck vulnerable Georgina Barnett, known as Doddy, repeatedly on the head and body as she pleaded with him to stop. 

The victim, who had osteoporosis but managed to lead an independent life, died in hospital five days after the June 25 assault, having suffered 11 fractured ribs, extensive bruising and a deep cut to the back of her head. 

Unemployed Brogan last month admitted murdering Mrs Barnett, a mother of one daughter, at her home in Ramsay Road, Kirkcaldy, Fife. 

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, Lord Pentland jailed him for life and fixed the minimum punishment part of his sentence at 18 years.

Intoxicated Brogan, a frequent heavy drinker, had shared a litre bottle of vodka with a friend on the day of the fatal attack sparked by the ``trivial problem'', the court heard. 

Passing sentence for the ``horrific'' murder, Lord Pentland told the killer: ``Mrs Barnett was a friend of yours and sometimes permitted you to visit her. At no time had she done you any harm. 

``She was a somewhat frail old lady, but she managed to live independently.'' 

The judge said the pensioner would have been unable to defend herself. ``It is clear that you subjected Mrs Barnett to a vicious and sustained assault in the course of which you repeatedly struck her with considerable force,'' he said. 

``In view of her age and the fact that she was frail and slightly built she would not have been in a position to defend herself against you, a much younger and stronger person. 

``It seems clear that you utterly lost control of yourself and that this was caused by the fact that you had allowed yourself to become so heavily intoxicated by alcohol.''