Killer of church-going pensioner was convicted sex offender

A man has pleaded guilty to the rape and murder of a pensioner who was found dead in her home.

Esther Brown was found dead in her home.

Jason Graham, 30, appeared at the High Court in Glasgow on Friday, where he admitted to assaulting and killing Esther Brown.

The court heard Graham then purchased a packet of cigarettes using the deceased’s bank card following the murder.

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The 67-year-old’s body was found at her address in West Princes Street in Woodlands, Glasgow, on Tuesday June 1 after she had been missing for four days.

Jason Graham

A week after the last sighting of her, officers arrested and charged Graham over her death.

The court heard the accused had a previous conviction for attacking and raping an older woman in 2013 and was sentenced to seven years in prison.

He was released in 2018 before his licence expired in 2020 and he has been a registered sex offender since.

Ms Brown has been described as a “much loved and active member of the community” and was devoted to St Silas Church.

In a statement read out in court, friends described her life as “full and rewarding” and “dedicated to helping others”.

Addressing Graham in court, judge Lord Armstrong said: “You now stand convicted of the gravest of crimes involving the most depraved actions on your part, characterised by utter brutality, extreme and sustained violence against a defenceless woman in her own home.”

Defence lawyer Brian McConnachie QC told the court Graham had “no recollection” of the attack, but has “insight” into the impact Ms Brown’s death has had on the community.

He said the accused is on medication for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in relation to a “traumatic childhood event”, and that he had consumed “a substantial” amount of alcohol on the night he broke into Ms Brown’s property.

Mr McConnachie said: “It seems to be clear that the combination of the drugs and alcohol have contributed to the offences.”

After drinking in a nearby pub, Graham accessed Ms Brown’s property through an open door into the building’s stairwell before knocking on her door.

The court heard the two were not known to each other.

Lord Armstrong deferred sentence on Graham until November 12 at the High Court in Edinburgh for reports, including on his psychiatric history.

Graham, who appeared in court wearing a blue jumper and blue jeans, remains subject to Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009.

Detective Superintendent Suzie Chow, of Police Scotland’s Major Investigation Teams, said: “Jason Graham will now have to face the consequences of his actions.

“This was a brutal attack and one that left Esther’s family and the community absolutely devastated.

“It has been a harrowing ordeal for Esther’s family, her friends and those who knew her and my thoughts are with them as they continue to come to terms with her death.”

She said the response from the local community in the aftermath of Ms Brown’s murder demonstrated “how loved and respected” she was and thanked them for their support in their inquiries.

Dr Annie Gemmill, a friend of Ms Brown, paid tribute to her ahead of Friday’s hearing.

She said Ms Brown was “a single lady but she had a great love”, adding “no one’s life should ever be ended as hers was, and we miss her so much.”