A quiet, defenceless victim whose life revolved around family

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GRANDMOTHER Rosina Sutherland lived a “quiet, private live that revolved around her family and her cat” before she was brutally raped and murdered.

The 74-year-old, who suffered from mild dementia, lived alone at her sheltered housing bungalow in Longstone Park but enjoyed regular visits from her children and grandchildren.

Born in 1937, she married husband Hugh in 1961 but the couple later separated and Mr Sutherland died a number of years ago.

The mother-of-five suffered from a number of ailments, including kidney problems, high blood pressure and diabetes, but she would not take her prescribed medication.

The court heard that she was “not a fit, strong or active woman”, and she tended to walk only short distances to the local shop, relying on the help of her family for longer trips, or for physical activities such as housework.

She was “extremely close” to her children – Dennis, Jane, Marie, Teresa and John – but did not have a wider circle of friends.

Mrs Sutherland had little money but used cash from her Post Office account to buy gifts for her family, and goods from catalogues which she would then give to charity.

From what little she had, the pensioner tended to keep cash in the house as she did not have a bank card, a habit which allowed Rooney to make off with hundreds of pounds after killing her.

Her daughter Teresa, 44, said she would often lock her mum inside at night because she did not have the strength to work the security handle on her own.

Tragically, this may have been something else Rooney was able to exploit to gain entry to her home.