East Kilbride shooting victim ‘owed killer money’

Police and forensics attend the scene of a double shooting tragedy in East Kilbride. Picture: Robert Perry
Police and forensics attend the scene of a double shooting tragedy in East Kilbride. Picture: Robert Perry
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A MAN who killed a farm owner and shot his son before turning a gun on himself had told friends he was owed thousands of pounds, it was claimed last night.

A friend of Robert McCormick, 53, claimed he had spoken about taking his own life and accused Peter Thompson, 59, of not paying debts.

The former farmer is said to have been increasingly depressed in recent months over money worries and feared

losing his home.

According to the friend,

McCormick claimed Mr Thompson owed him several thousand pounds over a business deal, but had failed to pay him back.

McCormick from Clarkston, East Renfrewshire, has been named locally as the man who shot and killed Mr Thompson, at Meadowhead Farm in Auldhouse in South Lanarkshire on Tuesday morning.

McCormick also shot Mr Thompson’s son, John, 36, who is still receiving treatment for leg injuries at Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride. John Thompson escaped the scene in a van to the nearby village of Auldhouse, where he raised the alarm at a local pub at around 8:10am.

McCormick is believed to have finally turned his gun on himself, and was found dead in his car at the farm.

Police have so far refused to confirm if McCormick took his own life, but said that they are not looking for anyone in connection with the shootings. It was confirmed, however, that he was a registered firearms holder.

Yesterday, a friend of McCormick said: “Everyone knew who did it, all the farming community knew. McCormick was saying he lent Peter Thompson money, a lot of money, in the thousands.

“He had told people he went to Thompson for his money back numerous times but got nowhere.”

Neighbours who live near McCormick’s home in Hillend Crescent said he “kept himself to himself”.

A neighbour, who asked to remain anonymous, said that despite having lived next door to McCormick for five years, she knew very little about him and had just exchanged “polite chit-chat” with him. She said he rarely left his home.

“It’s horrific what’s happened,” she said. “You just never imagine something like that happening to anyone around here.”

McCormick’s well-maintained, semi-detached home, where he lived by himself, was raided by armed police at 10am on Tuesday.

A witness, who had not been present at the shooting, was also located elsewhere in Clarkston.

One resident said: “I saw what were apparently two plain clothes policemen knock on his door. There was no reply, so they walked back up the road.

“About 20 seconds later, armed officers ran up to the door and kicked it open.

“You could hear them shouting ‘armed police, give yourself up’, but there was nobody there.

“The only way I can describe the guy is that he kept himself to himself. You rarely saw him out other than if he was at the ice cream van or he was working in his garden.”

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “Extensive inquiries are ongoing into the circumstances which led to the incident.”

Superintendent Elaine Ferguson added: “We are not looking for anybody else in relation to this incident and all the firearms are contained to that farm and there is no danger to the public.

“The scene has now been handed over to the CID officers.”

Condolences were posted on Meadowhead Farm’s Facebook page.

The farm is home to a riding school and almost 100 messages were posted on the page which informed customers that all lessons and treks are cancelled until further notice.

Lee Caroline Mcgregor wrote: “Shocking! Thoughts are with you all at this sad time, so sorry.”

Shirley Orr posted: “Thinking of yous at this truly devastating time. Wishing JT a speedy recovery. Rest in peace Peter.”