Fugitive son Sean Heiss jailed for life for Irish mum's murder
Published 05/06/2015 | 11:21
A man who strangled his mother to death and stole her bank cards before fleeing to Spain, where he murdered another woman in a knife attack, has been given a life sentence.
Former supermarket worker Sean Heiss (30) killed his 58-year-old mum, Dublin woman Margaret Sheehy, in 2012 after she refused to give him money after his benefits were stopped.
Three months later, he was arrested by Spanish police after he stabbed to death Clementina Liscano after she disturbed him while he was sleeping rough by a bank cashpoint in Barcelona.
The 30-year-old, from in Surbiton in South London, was already serving a 22-year jail sentence for killing Ms Liscano when he was extradited back to Britain to be tried for killing his mother.
During his trial, Mr Heiss admitted killing the 58-year-old but denied murder on grounds of diminished responsibility based on a history of psychotic illness.
But a jury convicted him by a majority of ten to one following the trial at the Old Bailey.
The 30-year-old must serve at least 27 years and three months in jail said Judge Gerald Gordon, who ruled that his life sentence would run alongside his sentence for Ms Liscano's murder.
Dismissing greed as a motive, Judge Gordon said: "In my view the cause of the killing that night was anger."
He said he had taken into account the 30-year-old’s mental state leading up to the murder of his mum.
Mr Heiss was diagnosed in Ireland with negative schizophrenia in 2005, and is believed to have stopped taking his medication shortly before the attack on his mother.
The court heard he had quit his job weeks before he strangled Ms Sheehy to death at her home in Kingston in June 2012.
He then fled the scene, using her bank cards to board the Eurostar to Paris and then on to San Sebastian in Spain.
Ms Sheehy's body was discovered the next evening after she failed to arrive for work and colleagues raised the alarm.
Wearing pyjamas, her lifeless body was found in the living room lying on the sofa.
A post-mortem examination found she suffered blunt force trauma to the head, possibly caused by punches, and compression to the neck, either from a ligature or hands.