Murder accused “smoked cigarette” while sister lay dying at his feet

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A murder accused sat on a sofa calmly smoking a cigarette while his sister laying dying on the floor just two feet away, a jury was told today.

Constable Craig Walker was giving evidence at the trial of Charles Gordon (52) who denies raping and murdering his sister Elizabeth Bowe (51) on September 17, last year in St Andrews.

The police officer told jurors at the High Court in Glasgow he and Constable Keith Leinster were first on the scene after Gordon dialled 999 and said he had killed his sister.

The phone call was made at 9.24pm and the officers arrived at the scene within two minutes.

They managed to force their way through the entry door system and when they got to the door and knocked Gordon told them: “It’s open, come in.”

Constable Walker was asked by prosecutor Iain McSporran QC: “What did you see,” and replied: “There was a male on the sofa and a female lying on the floor. She was lying on her back. She was only dressed on the top half.

“Her bra was undone and up around her collarbone.”

The court was told there was a blue dressing gown wrapped round Ms Bowe’s neck.

Constable Walker told the court his colleague handcuffed Gordon and added: “He was sitting on a sofa smoking a cigarette.”

He said his first priority was to try to resuscitate Ms Bowe and added: “When I started CPR he shouted: ‘She’s already dead, you might as well give up.”

Mr McSporran asked: “What was Mr Gordon’s demeanour,” and Constable Walker replied: “Calm, relaxed. He was still smoking a cigarette.”

The prosecutor added: “This man is calmly smoking a cigarette and telling you you might as well not bother,” and the officer said: “Yes.”

Mr McSporran went on: “This man who was sitting smoking calmly must have been quite close to where his sister was, “ and Constable Walker said: “Yes.”

His colleague Constable Leinster said in his opinion Ms Bowe was lying just two feet away from her brother.

Mr McSporran asked if he noticed any emotion from Gordon and constable Leinster replied: “I didn’t see any display of emotion.”

Constable Leinster told the court when Gordon was detained he said: “I wish it hadn’t happened, but it did.’

Gordon was then taken to Kirkcaldy police station and while he was having his clothes in the cells Constable Leinster toll the jurors the accused said: “Wee sister’s tried to be a wee slut. I tried to kill her.”

Minutes later at the charge bar Constable Leinster said that Gordon said: “Nothing to hide. I know what I’ve done.”

Another police officer Sergeant James Scarborough said he spoke to Gordon in his cell at 5.18am on September 18, last year.

He said: “I asked him to come to the charge bar and he issued threats against me and my colleague.

“He said: ‘You’ll be next” or ‘Do you want to be next.’”

The jury has been played a tape recored interview given by Gordon in which he answers most questions by saying “no comment.’

Yesterday the jury was shown footage showing Gordon and his sister shopping at Morrison’s just hours before she died.

Ms Bowe’s son, also called Charles Gordon (31), said the accused – whom he called Chick – was at his mother’s because he was “a scrounger.”

He added: “He was scrounging basically. The only way he was there was to use my mum for money,”

Mr Gordon said he received a call from his mother about 6.45pm the night she died.

“She had been in an argument with Chick,” he said.

“I think she put the phone down beside her so that I could hear what was going on. I assumed the two of them had been drinking. It was tit-for-tat, back-and-forth, stupid stuff.”

He was asked if he had any concerns following the call and replied: “No more than usual.”

The trial before Judge John Morris QC continues.