UK

Man confessed to murdering Caroline Glachan to two relatives, court told

Caroline Glachan was found dead in a river in 1996 (Police Scotland/PA)
Caroline Glachan was found dead in a river in 1996 (Police Scotland/PA) Caroline Glachan was found dead in a river in 1996 (Police Scotland/PA)

A heroin addict confessed to murdering Caroline Glachan to two relatives while his ex told police she witnessed it, a court has heard.

Three separate witnesses named George Graham – who is dead – as being responsible for the 14-year-old’s death in 1996.

Donna Marie Brand, 44, Robert O’Brien, 45, and Andrew Kelly, 44, are on trial at the High Court in Glasgow and deny murdering the schoolgirl on August 25 1996 in West Dunbartonshire.

Her body was found in the river Leven on that date.

One of the witnesses was Mr Graham’s girlfriend at the time, who said in a statement that she witnessed the alleged murder.

Jean McIntyre, who is dead, gave a statement in 2002 saying she stayed quiet for six years because she was “feart”.

She said she was at a party at Caroline’s mother’s house to collect her teenage son and had arranged to meet Mr Graham, who she referred to as Geordie, later and followed him as he walked behind Caroline, who was “going to meet her new man”.

The statement given to police said: “We made arrangements for Geordie to come back to my house.

“Caroline told me she was meeting her new man at Bonhill Bridge. I can’t remember what she was wearing.

“I said to Geordie ‘you go first because I don’t want my wean to see me’, it was the early hours of the morning.”

She added: “I saw Geordie as I was walking down, so was, surprisingly, Caroline.

“Geordie was wearing a hooded top. I never shouted at Geordie because I didn’t want Caroline to know I was going with Geordie.

“Geordie was at this stage very close to her, he then grabbed her from behind.”

She described him picking up an implement and said: “He then hit her on the back of the head, it was more than once.

“Caroline didn’t even scream, she never had a chance. He then put her head in the water, her arms were moving.”

The statement said Mr Graham told her to “shut her gob or she’d get the same”, and she ran past Bonhill Bridge.

The statement said: “I never phoned police because I was scared. I have seen Geordie since this has happened and he said to me ‘I hope you haven’t opened your mouth’.”

It added: “The reason I’m telling police is it’s been doing my head in. Since that happened, I started drinking.”

Another witness was Mr Graham’s teenage cousin, who was best friends with Caroline.

A witness statement from Margaret Connolly, 16, given to police in December 1997, alleged that her cousin confessed to killing Caroline as they used heroin together.

She first told a close friend, Joanne Menzies, as they celebrated her birthday by getting drunk, before telling police.

Ms Connolly’s statement said: “I told Joanne that George had told me he killed Caroline, but I didn’t know if he was carrying on or not.

“I said if he was, he was a sick bastard, you don’t joke about things like that. George Graham is my cousin.

“George moved in with my auntie, Mary Connolly, I started to see him every day more or less, sharing deals with him.”

She said she was watching TV with Mr Graham when he brought up the subject of Caroline’s murder.

Ms Connolly’s statement said: “George said ‘It’s a sin what happened to wee Caroline, who do you think it was, me who done it hen?’

“I said ‘I don’t know’, I asked him who he thought it was. He said ‘I couldn’t tell you’.”

The statement said that later in the conversation Mr Graham said: “A lot of people think it was me, hen”, before he added: “I don’t know who the f*** it was.”

The statement said: “He definitely said: ‘It was me’, he then said: ‘No, I’m only kidding on’. Then he looked me straight in the eyes and said: ‘But it was me’. I felt as if someone had winded me.

“I don’t know if he was joking or serious, but you don’t joke about things like that, especially as she was one of my best mates.”

A statement given by Mary Rose Connolly, who took Mr Graham in after his mother kicked him out, and who has since died, said: “He told me he had murdered Caroline.

“He told me he had hit her with a baseball bat and held her head under water.

“When he told me this, I threw him out the house two days later, and told him he was a f****** nutter.”

The statements were read to court during the defence case.

The trial continues.