Muirhouse granddad who murdered partner in Edinburgh home jailed for life

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A GRANDFATHER who murdered his partner after becoming ‘delusional’ with the idea she was conducting an affair has been jailed for life.

Robert Douglas,64, was told he’d have to serve at least 16 years for the murder of 61-year-old Marie Walker at their home in Pennywell, Edinburgh, in August 2018.

Robert Douglas (right), was told hed have to serve at least 16 years for the murder of 61-year-old Marie Walker (left)

Robert Douglas (right), was told hed have to serve at least 16 years for the murder of 61-year-old Marie Walker (left)

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how the first offender wrongly believed that Marie - who was just five feet tall and lightly built - was cheating on him.

The thug told psychiatrists that a “red mist” descended on him after he confronted Marie with his delusional belief.

He grabbed Marie’s throat and dragged her out the bed, banging her head off the fireplace of their home.

The coward then tried to evade justice by slashing his arms in a suicide bid. However, he failed and police managed to gather enough evidence to bring him to court.

On Wednesday, judge Lord Boyd told Douglas that a life sentence was the only option available to him.

He added: “It is clear to me that you would rather have died in the suicide attempt than be here facing justice.

“But it is fitting that you are facing justice in a court of law because the deliberate taking of any life is a most heinous crime.

“It is clear that you were motivated by jealousy, believing, wrongly on all the evidence that was before the court that your partner was conducting an affair.

“You resolved to murder Marie Walker and commit suicide. Despite a determined effort on your part your suicide attempt failed.

“You are a family man - a father and grandfather. By all accounts they loved and cared for you as they did for Marie.

“But you took Marie from them in the most brutal way and I suspect that the circumstances of her death and how it came about will weigh with them for the rest of their lives.

“By all accounts you were until shortly before these events a close, loving couple.”

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Douglas was convicted following a trial at the High Court in Livingston last month. Sentence had been deferred for the court to obtain reports about his character.

During proceedings, Douglas admitted killing Marie by compressing her neck and restricting her breathing.

But he denied murdering her by claiming he was suffering from diminished responsibility at the time of the offence.

However, jurors concluded that Douglas wasn’t suffering from mental impairment but was motivated by malice towards Marie.

The jury had earlier heard how Douglas told psychiatrists at the State Hospital in Carstairs, Lanarkshire, that he put his hand over hr her mouth so her screams couldn’t be heard by their neighbours.

He confessed the killing to them and said Marie was “fighting for her life” and battled to stop the attack.

Douglas callously said: “It took her an eternity to die.”

Jurors had also heard that police officers broke down the door to their property after receiving calls from people worried about their safety.

Officers found Douglas lying unconscious in bed beside Marie’s body. He had taken an overdose and slashed his arms in what was a third failed suicide bed.

He told doctors that the night he committed the crime he had been lying in bed with thoughts about Marie’s fidelity going through his head.

Douglas said he confronted Marie about being unfaithful to him and shouted at her before attacking her.

He told psychiatrists who examined him that he had spent five months believing his partner had been drinking in secret and was being unfaithful to him. But the court heard he didn’t have any proof of this.

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On Wednesday, defence solicitor advocate James Keegan QC told the court that Douglas was sorry for what he had done.

Mr Keegan added: “He lived for most of his life in an idyllic relationship with his partner. Everything seems to have gone truly wrong in a really short period of time.

“It is a tragedy of great proportion - nothing more can be said about it.

“He is sorry for his actions but maintains this delusional belief that his wife was involved with somebody else.”

Lord Boyd also told Douglas that he had concluded that Marie hadn’t been subjected to a long term campaign of abuse.

He added: “This was not an abusive relationship up until shortly before these events.

“As the author of the criminal justice social work report put it, your behaviour seems to have been a maladaptive response to stress and your interpretation of events rather than indicative of pervasive abusive behaviour.

“I sentence you to life imprisonment. Balancing all the factors, I have determined that the punishment part shall be 16 years.”