‘Drugged-up’ gunman blasted ex’s house after split

Kevin Gartland. Picture: Ciaran Donnelly
Kevin Gartland. Picture: Ciaran Donnelly
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A jealous gunman repeatedly fired on his ex-girlfriend’s home after she split up with him.

Drug-taking Kevin Gartland twice discharged a sawn-off pump action shotgun at a window of a bedroom where Robyn Murtagh had been sleeping.

The shotgun attack happened on July 13 at Gilmerton Dykes Avenue.  Picture: Andrew O'Brien

The shotgun attack happened on July 13 at Gilmerton Dykes Avenue. Picture: Andrew O'Brien

The frightened victim of the shooting was awakened by a loud bang and saw glass on the floor before a second shot rang out seconds later.

Gartland, 24, had previously sent her a text message stating: “I have nothing to lose now. No one gets away with playing with my emotions like this. I promise.”

Broken glass was all over the floor of the bedroom at Miss Murtagh’s flat in Gilmerton Dykes Avenue, in Edinburgh and on her bed.

Miss Murtagh, 24, rolled out of the bed and crawled through to the hall before hearing Gartland make his getaway on a motorbike.

Gartland was later detained by armed police and the gun was found after he handed over a diagram to a visitor in Edinburgh’s Saughton prison of where he had disposed of the weapon.

Unemployed Gartland admitted endangering the life of his former girlfriend by culpably and recklessly discharging a shotgun at a bedroom window of her home on July 13 this year, when he appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh today.

He also pled guilty to having a prohibited weapon and having a firearm after being sentenced to five years detention by a judge in 2008.

Gartland, of Lower Granton Road, Edinburgh, has twice been jailed for offences of serious violence.

Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC said Gartland and Miss Murtagh had been at a house party in April this year and remained in contact afterwards and began a relationship.

She was aware that he took cocaine and valium but at first thought it was only when socialising with friends.

The prosecutor said: “It quickly became apparent that this was not the case and that he does take drugs on a daily basis. The consumption of these drugs has an adverse effect on his behaviour and makes him paranoid.”

“He also stated that he had access to a firearm. The victim initially put his ramblings down to the fact that he was on drugs but as time went on she became increasingly unsettled by his behaviour.”

She tried to get him off drugs but failed. He became possessive and accused her of seeing others behind his back.

Gartland tried to ensure a connection with the victim by trying to gain her daughter’s affections and bought her a puppy.

Miss Murtagh decided to finish the relationship and on July 8 sent him a text. Gartland refused to accept it was over and repeatedly sent her messages before using Facebook to accuse her of cheating and calling her “a slag”.

She went to a party where she was talking to another man. Mr Prentice said: “The accused learned of the fact that the victim had been speaking to this male and was displeased and very jealous.”

On the morning of the shooting Miss Murtagh was in bed and her daughter was staying at the home of a family member.

Afterwards Gartland fled to Penicuik on a motorbike but fell in a river. He was seen wet and dressed only a pair of boxer shorts and tried to get on a bus with a damp £20 note, but was told to get change and catch the next one.

A police force support officer who saw him took pity on him and gave him a T-shirt and trainers. Gartland caught a taxi back to Edinburgh and hid out with a friend.

He called another friend to come and collect him and was on his way to the Asda store in Chesser when police caught up with him.

A search of his home found shotgun cartridges in a holdall.

Mr Prentice said that Gartland was visited by an associate while on remand in Saughton. Prison officers noticed he appeared to be holding something in his left hand and thought a transfer had taken place between the men.

The visitor was found to be holding a piece of paper with a diagram on it. The prosecutor said: “This piece of paper appeared to be a crude drawing of a map and directions.”

It appeared to show an area known as Cameron Woods at Damhead, in Midlothian. A dog handler was deployed and the shotgun was quickly found.

Mr Prentice said: “Robyn Murtagh has understandably been left very unnerved by this incident and whole experience of her relationship with the accused in general.”

The judge, Lord Jones, deferred sentence on Gartland until next month and called for a background report. Gartland will be held in custody until then.