Murder accused ‘told counsellor about son’s cup final goal’

James McGowan, who is accused of murder and assault, appeared at Edinburgh High Court. Picture: Ian Georgeson

James McGowan, who is accused of murder and assault, appeared at Edinburgh High Court. Picture: Ian Georgeson

A man accused of murder told a helpline counsellor about how he watched his son score for Hearts in the 2012 Scottish Cup Final, a court has heard.

James McGowan, 58, also told operators at On the Line, a mental health service funded by the Australian government, that he took another person’s life.

Jurors at the High Court in Edinburgh heard recordings of two phone calls made by Mr McGowan, a Scottish emigrant to the Commonwealth country.

During the first phone call on July 21, 2012, he said his sons played football and that one of them - Ryan - scored for Hearts against Hibs in the 2012 Scottish Cup Final.

Mr McGowan said: “I went back to Scotland and I watched Hearts play Hibs. I watched my son make a cup final. Not only did he play Hampden in front of 50 odd 60,000 people, he played and he scored.”

He also said: “Once you’ve crossed the line and you jump back - you know you can always go across the line. Some people can’t go across it and I know I went and done it and it’s a frightening thing - a frightening thing to deal with.

“You go, ‘Jesus, I can’t kill people’. But I did.”

Prosecutors claim that on November 28, 1999, at the Kirkshaws Social Club in Coatbridge, Mr McGowan assaulted Thomas Duggan by head butting him on the face and striking his head against a wall.

The Crown also alleges that, on November 28 or November 29, 1999, at 10 Bankhead Avenue, Coatbridge, McGowan assaulted Owen Brannigan, then aged 46, and repeatedly stabbed him. Prosecutors claim Mr McGowan murdered Mr Brannigan and had previously shown “ill will” towards him. Mr McGowan, a prisoner of HMP Addiewell in West Lothian, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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