Man convicted of murdering sister

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A brother who choked his sister to death with his bare hands has been convicted of her murder.

Charles Gordon (52) is facing a life sentence after being found guilty of killing his sister Elizabeth Bowe at her flat at Bobby Jones Place, St Andrews, on September 17 last year.

Gordon, who denied murder, smirked as he was led away to the cells.

He claimed he only grabbed his 50-year-old sister by the neck after she threatened to accuse him of raping her and said she would slash his face with a knife.

But the jury did not believe him and convicted him of murdering her by compressing her neck, placing a dressing gown round her neck and a bag over her head.

Judge John Morris QC deferred sentence on Gordon until July for background reports. He will determine then the punishment part of Gordon’s sentence.

Judge Morris said: “This is a very tragic case. “

Prosecutor Iain McSporran QC said: “Elizabeth’s family are clearly distraught with their loss. Her son is having difficulty coming to terms with the loss of his mother.”

The High Court in Glasgow heard that Gordon strangled his sister and then called the police at 9.24pm.

He told a 999 operator: “I think I’ve killed my sister. She’s dead and I’m alive “

Police who arrived at the scene found Gordon calmly smoking a cigarette while his dying sister, who was naked from the waist down, lay just feet away from him with blood coming from her mouth and a blue dressing gown wrapped round her neck.

Torn pieces of a plastic bag, one of which had Elizabeth’s blood on it, were nearby.

Gordon told police officers who battled to save Elizabeth: “She’s already dead, you might as well give up.”

Elizabeth was taken to Ninewells hospital in Dundee where she died on September 20, last year.

Pathologist Dr David Sadler told the court that Elizabeth, who was 5ft 6in and weighed seven stones four lbs, died from strangulation.

He said the the most likely scenario was that Gordon had strangled Elizabeth with one hand and had the other clamped over her mouth.

The jury was told that Elizabeth would have lost consciousness after 10 to 20 seconds, but it would take at least a minute to inflict a fatal injury.

In evidence, Gordon admitted killed Elizabeth, but not murdering her.

He said: “I grabbed hold of her by the throat with my left hand. I kept a hold of her until she hit the floor. She slumped and went down. When she went down I let her go.”

Gordon was also accused of raping his sister, but that charge was withdrawn at the end of the Crown case.

Speaking after the sentence Detective Chief Inspector Rory Hamilton, who led the investigation, said: “Charles Gordon carried out a horrific attack on his younger sister, Elizabeth, within her own home and the injuries he inflicted upon her were so severe that she passed away within hospital a few days later.

“This incident left the community deeply shocked and while detectives conducted a thorough investigation and made a quick arrest, local officers provided reassurance, assistance and support to Elizabeth’s neighbours and the general public within St Andrews.

“I would like to thank all of those who assisted Police Scotland with our inquiries, including Elizabeth’s family and friends, whom I hope can now begin to move on with their lives following this conviction.”

Gordon will be sentenced next month.