Kevin Rooney given life sentence for rape and murder of Edinburgh pensioner

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A CONVICTED sex offender has been given a life sentence and ordered to serve at least 21 years for the “horrendous” rape and murder of an elderly woman in her home.

Kevin Rooney, 26, sat with his head in his hands and fingers in his ears as details of the attack on Rosina Sutherland, 74, a widow, were revealed at the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday.

It was said he had been in “a bad state” through drink and drugs on the day he went into Mrs Sutherland’s sheltered housing home in the Longstone area of the city. He raped her and held his hand over her face to try to keep her quiet, and she died, possibly through suffocation or by the terror of her ordeal triggering heart failure.

The court heard that Mrs Sutherland’s family had been devastated by her death.

“Not knowing exactly how much she suffered, and imagining what she went through in her final moments has been almost impossible for them to bear,” said the advocate-depute, Alison Di Rollo.

Members of the family were in court and learned that Rooney had laughed when police asked him if there had been any sexual element to the murder.

The judge, Lady Dorrian, told Rooney that the murder, on 29 October last year, was aggravated by many factors, including his record and the “violent” rape of Mrs Sutherland, “a vulnerable, elderly lady living in sheltered accommodation”.

She jailed him for life and said he would have to serve at least 21 years and four months before he became eligible for parole. It would have been 22 years but he was given a discount for pleading guilty.

Earlier this week, Rooney had changed his plea during a trial and admitted raping, murdering and robbing Mrs Sutherland.