THE brutal killer of a kind and gentle grandmother has been targeted by bullies behind bars, it has emerged.

Lee Grainger is said to have been singled out for rough treatment by other inmates at Holme House Prison.

The 41-year-old is now treated by staff at the jail in Stockton as a vulnerable prisoner, his lawyer revealed.

Grainger - behind bars for the second time for killing someone - was picked on because of his odd appearance.

The unemployed drug user was this weekend starting a life sentence for the manslaughter of Sybil Sibthorpe, 80.

Mrs Sibthorpe was Grainger's former landlady and he held a grudge for losing his tenancy at the Darlington house.

Teesside Crown Court heard that he had "brooded" for months before battering the pensioner to death in May.

A judge said he sought revenge for a misplaced sense of grievance, while police said he "became enraged for no reason".

He smashed a heavy breeze block onto the head of Mrs Sibthorpe at least six times in the back yard of her rented property.

Following the savage attack, Grainger was held on remand at the Teesside prison, where he had protected status.

In 1996, he suffered catastrophic head injuries in a motorbike accident - seven years after killing a mother in a joyriding crash.

The head injuries and a diagnosed personality disorder left him unable to exercise self-control and proper judgement.

As a result prosecutors had to accept a guilty plea to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility rather than murder.

His barrister, Nicholas Lumley, QC, said: "He does not seek to blame anyone else but himself for what took place.

"While his medical state provides a legal defence, he doesn't seek to hide behind that to any great extent, and accepts he must be punished.

"He bears the scars of the accident and medical intervention, with huge scars across his head.

"He does not look 'normal' and has been targeted in prison already. He had one eye pointing one way, and one pointing the other.

"He has been placed as a vulnerable prisoner."

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton, QC, described Grainger as a danger to the public and ruled he she serve at least 12-and-a-half years.

After the case, Detective Chief Inspector Steve Chapman said: "He has previous convictions, and has been violent in the past.

"On this occasion, he had illicit drugs inside him and became enraged for no reason.

"It was an unprovoked, sustained attack on a defenceless, likeable 80-year-old woman who wanted to help people in the community."