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 preyed on Ms Temple for her money.
He had cashed cheques in her name behind her back and chatted to a friend about 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 increasingly suspicious bank staff.
Patel was convicted of murder following a protracted trial at the High Court in Glasgow.
The medical researcher will learn his fate next month.
Odd job man and family friend
Former insurance worker Ms Temple – known as Nan – lived alone at her home in Kinglassie.
She was known to have only a couple of regular visitors, one of whom was Patel’s mother.
Jurors heard how the pensioner was found was dead in her bed.
Police initially did not treat the death as suspicious.
Patel was quizzed by a constable and lied, saying he had not seen his victim the day she died.
Patel said she had been a patient of his father’s and he had known her “ever since I can recall”.
He claimed he carried out odd jobs for her.
Victim ‘did not trust’ Patel
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 Annie 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, was charged with murder on November 15, 2019.
Ms Bradbury told how her friend “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.”
Desperate need for gambling cash
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 cheques totalling £1,500 in Ms Temple’s name the week before her death.
He had then tried to pocket a further £1,250 two days before the murder but suspicious staff at the bank blocked the payment.
The pensioner told them she did not even know she had a cheque book.
It also emerged in June 2019 Patel had gone with Ms Temple to her bank hoping to transfer more than £4,000 for a supposed car purchase.
Wary staff again blocked the transaction.
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.
Messages about Ms Temple’s wealth
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.
CCTV evidence caught Patel near Ms Temple’s home on the morning of the killing.
Judge Michael O’Grady QC remanded Patel in custody as sentencing was deferred 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-19, that he could not concentrate on evidence due to “ringing” in his ears and that 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.