Drug addict facing life in jail over nurse killing

A DRUG addict is facing a life sentence today after being convicted of strangling an Edinburgh nurse to death.

Brian Crosby, 31, was found guilty of murdering "sweet natured" nurse Sandra Wilson at her home in Merseyside last December after she apparently turned down his request for money.

The body of the 43-year-old nursing sister, who was brought up in Canonmills and Murrayfield, was only discovered after she failed to reply to birthday messages from her family.

The jury at Liverpool Crown Court heard how Crosby had kept up the pretence that she was alive and meanwhile used her home as if it was his own.

He stole her property and sold it to pawn shops and also used her bank account to withdraw money to fund drug habits.

He also adopted her surname after being arrested for shoplifting on January 5 - giving police the false name of Brian Wilson - and later told a police inspector that he was concerned about his "friend" Sandra, who he said was a colleague of his girlfriend at the city's Alder Hey Hospital.

The jury took less than an hour and a half to unanimously convict Crosby, who had denied the charges, of murder. Judge John Roberts told him that he would receive a life sentence and the only question was how long he would have to serve before he could be considered for parole.

Ms Wilson moved to Merseyside to train to be a nurse when she was about 18.

She stayed in the area, apart from a spell working in Dubai, but regularly returned to Edinburgh to visit family and friends.

She was also a popular figure at Alder Hey, where she was known as Sandy to her colleagues, and worked in neurological intensive care.

She came up to Edinburgh a couple of times a year and would usually stay with her sister Susan in north Edinburgh or brother David in Fife.

Following her death, David, a civil servant who works for the Scottish Executive, Susan and her half-brother Douglas Grieve - who also lives in the Capital - were described as "devastated and grief-stricken".

Before being found guilty, Crosby claimed that he had been kidnapped by two Jamaican men on Boxing Day, as he owed money to his drug suppliers.

He claimed the men forced him to take them to a friend who could get the money, and added he had taken them to Sandra - who he claimed had helped him before.

He also claimed that he was taken upstairs by the men and tied up and did not escape until New Year's Day when he found they had gone.

He added that he had gone back to the house the day before his arrest but only went into the hallway and called out for her before leaving.

Police went to the house in Gladstone Way, Newton-le-Willows, in the early hours of January 6 and found Ms Wilson's body lying on a settee in the living room covered with blankets, bed covers, pillows and a jacket.