A MAN accused of murdering a dogwalker with a heavy metal lead in a Glasgow park has been cleared.
Paul Ward, 21, had been deemed mentally unfit to stand trial over the murder of Jean Campbell, 53, in Cranhill Park on 13 December 2013.
At an examination of facts hearing at the High Court in Glasgow, Lord Matthews yesterday found Mr Ward had not killed Mrs Campbell.
The prosecution claimed Mr Ward killed Mrs Campbell because he was an animal lover and hated the way she treated her German Shepherd Kai.
But Lord Matthews said the case against Mr Ward was weak and none of the evidence presented by the Crown was compelling.
Lord Matthews said: “A great many hours of work were put into this case by dedicated policemen, including authorised surveillance of the accused’s home, but the result of all of it is, in my opinion at least, a weak Crown case.
“There was proof of a possible, albeit tenuous motive. The accused potentially had the opportunity.
“There are a number of suspicious circumstances in this case and the accused might have committed the acts referred to in the indictment, but that is not the test.”
Lord Matthews said the Crown case did not convince him beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Ward was Mrs Campbell’s assailant.
“I appreciate that what I have said might not find favour with the family and friends of Mrs Campbell.
“In this day and age what I have to say may not be the final word on the matter. No doubt the matter can be revisited if compelling new evidence emerges.
“However, I can only proceed on the evidence presented to me.”
Lord Matthews ordered Mr Ward be detained at the State Hospital for six hours to allow him to be examined and appropriate medical treatment organised for him.
Mrs Campbell’s widower John, who had found his wife’s body in the park, looked shocked as the judge’s determination was given and was comforted by family members.
Defence QC Donald Findlay said: “It is clear this young man is likely to require treatment for a considerable period of time.”
During the hearing, prosecutors alleged Mr Ward attacked Mrs Campbell in the park with a dog lead.
Mrs Campbell, who was 4ft 11in and weighed six stones, was ferociously whipped with the lead in a sustained assault in which she suffered 11 broken ribs, a fractured leg, bruising to her head and neck and a brain injury.
Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC said: “Mr Ward said words to the effect, ‘I hate her. She is always hitting the dog. How would she like it if I did that to her?’.”
While on remand last August, Mr Ward told his mother during a telephone conversation: “What happened to that woman might have been me. I’ve been hearing stuff in my head. I think I might have hit her once.”
But Lord Matthews said he discounted this alleged confession because the taped conversation happened four days after Mr Ward was diagnosed with a psychotic illness.
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