18 years for murder of woman, 24, in woods

A MAN who stabbed a young woman 18 times and left her to die was jailed yesterday for 18 years and three months.

At the High Court in Glasgow, Gary Finnigan, 35, admitted murdering Karen Hughes, 24, on 20 November last year at a wooded area known as The Moss, near Leaend Road, Airdrie.

Judge Lord Doherty told Finnigan, a father of four, of Whinhall Avenue, Airdrie: “You have been convicted of murder. There is only one sentence I can impose, that of life imprisonment.”

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Finnigan will have to serve at least 18 years and three months before he can apply for parole.

Lord Doherty said that if it had not been for Finnigan’s guilty plea he would have jailed him for 19 years.

Advocate depute Pino Di Emidio, prosecuting, said the fatal wounds were three stab wounds to Ms Hughes’s neck which severed her carotid artery and jugular vein.

Ms Hughes, who lived with her father in Coatbridge was known locally as Penny Crayon. She met Finnigan at a friend’s house and at around 5pm she, Finnigan and two other women walked to The Glen.

The other two women said they did not wish to go any further and turned back.

Mr Di Emidio said: “The fatal attack happened when the accused was alone with Miss Hughes in The Glen. “

The court heard that after the attack Finnigan went home and changed his clothes, before going to a neighbour’s house where he drank cans of lager.

Mr Di Emidio added: “The accused was agitated and later said that he had murdered someone at The Moss earlier on.”

Defence QC Brian McConnachie said Finnigan, who previously worked as a HGV driver, had been on a drinking binge at the time and could not remember anything about the fatal attack.