A pensioner who murdered a 60-year-old woman after attacking her in her own home is facing a life sentence.
Michael Taylor, 71, was convicted on Thursday morning at the High Court in Edinburgh on a single charge of murder.
The court heard how prosecutors were unable to discover why he took Elizabeth Muir’s life.
It also heard how Taylor grabbed Ms Muir at her home in Kintail Court, Inverness, before repeatedly punching her on the head.
Taylor, a widower, caused her to fall to the ground and she lost consciousness. He then repeatedly struck her on the head with what prosecutors suspect was either a kitchen pot or pan.
He also subjected her to an indecent assault before fleeing the scene.
Taylor, a prisoner of HMP Inverness, denied committing the crime.
But he was convicted after police found his fingerprints and “large amounts” of his DNA at the scene.
Detectives also discovered that Taylor had admitted assaulting Ms Muir to two people following the incident.
On their second day of deliberations, jurors returned a guilty verdict to murder.
Judge Michael O’Grady QC told Taylor that the law required him to pass a life sentence.
But Judge O’Grady also told Taylor that he would have to obtain a report about his character before imposing a sentence.
Ordering Taylor to be remanded in custody, Judge O’Grady said: “Mr Taylor - you have been convicted of an appalling offence.
“Murder is always an appalling offence. The brutality of this particular offence is quite staggering. No one, I imagine, will ever know why it should be that you attacked this woman in this fashion.
“What is abundantly clear is that she must have suffered a painful and terrifying death at your hands.
“There’s only one sentence I can impose in relation to this offence. However, I’m obliged to obtain a report in this case. The imposition of a life sentence in this case is inevitable.”
The verdict in the case came on the eleventh day of proceedings against Taylor, who had denied any wrongdoing.
The court heard that police were unable to find out why Mr Taylor, whose wife died 20 years ago, attacked Ms Muir.
Police investigating the crime think that he attacked her sometime between 28 March and 31 March, 2016.
Detectives were also unable to determine exactly what Taylor used to murder his victim.
Officers believe that Ms Muir’s injuries were consistent with being struck with an item such as a pot or a pan.
Police Scotland officers arrived at the scene and found “compelling” forensic evidence which showed that Taylor was the man responsible for the crime.
This included his DNA and fingerprints at the murder scene.
Police also discovered that Taylor had made a confession to other people about attacking Ms Muir.
Witness Vincent Lyle told the court that Taylor had made an incriminating admission to him about his role in the death.
During evidence in the case, Mr Lyle said that Taylor had told him: “I didn’t mean to kill her. I only punched her once.”
Police also found that Taylor had made similar admissions to others.
Officers gathered enough evidence to arrest Taylor on 5 April last year.
In his closing speech, prosecution lawyer David Taylor urged jurors to convict the accused of murder.
He added: “When you look at the whole evidence - the CCTV, the footwear, the fingerprints, the DNA and the confessions made by Michael Taylor - you will be left in no doubt at all who is responsible for the death of Elizabeth Muir.
“I would suggest to you ladies and gentlemen of the jury, that when you consider your verdict, you will reach the inevitable conclusion that Michael Taylor is guilty of murder.”
Jurors agreed and returned a guilty verdict on their second day of deliberations.
On Tuesday, the advocate depute revealed that Taylor had previous convictions for road traffic offences, public indecency and a racially aggravated breach of the peace.
Taylor’s advocate, Shelagh McCall, told Judge O’Grady that she would address the court on her client’s behalf at the sentencing hearing next month.
Taylor was then remanded in custody. He will be sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh on 16 June, 2017.
Judge O’Grady also thanked jurors for their attention and care during the case.
He added: “It has been a difficult and anxious case.”