Scottish woman who buried husband in garden escapes jail

Louise Khan had faced two years in prison
Louise Khan had faced two years in prison

A Scottish woman threatened with prison for burying her husband’s body in the garden of their Portuguese home, has escaped with a fine.

Edinburgh-born pianist Louise Khan, 52, was warned she could be jailed for up to two years after being accused of corpse desecration.

She was convicted at a regional court in Celorico Da Beira in Portugal’s Guarda District, a two-hour drive south east of the city of Porto.

Court officials confirmed yesterday she had been punished with a €790 (£705) fine and told she would go to prison for 65 days only if she failed to pay.

Her trial was scheduled to last two days and finish yesterday but was dealt with in a single day.

Ms Khan was arrested and held in custody for three days after police using ground penetrating radar found Alyn Pennycook’s body at the couple’s remote farm dwelling in Linhares da Beira on 9 February last year.

Her best friend claimed afterwards she buried truck driver Mr Pennycook, 59, as a last wish after he died from a brain tumour. He is believed to have died at the end of September 2016.

There is no suggestion his death was suspicious.

The couple moved to Portugal from Lochgelly, Fife, about four years ago.

Mr Pennycook, who was working in the UK when he became ill, was diagnosed with a brain tumour at hospital in Manchester but returned to Portugal to die.

His wife defied an order from her husband not to notify his estranged son and daughter from a first marriage about his death and contacted them through Facebook.

Sound and video engineer Killian Steele, a close friend from Edinburgh, claimed last year the couple had “doted on one another”.

He said Ms Kahn had phoned him to break the news soon after her husband died and told him: “I’m going to bury him in the garden. It’s what he wanted.”

Speaking before a trial delay in February last year, he added: “I’ve known Louise since I was 18 – she’s like a sister – and she would never knowingly do something illegal.”

In a plea for leniency, he added at the time: “I hope the courts see this for what it is. This was a couple who loved one another.”

A four-page indictment submitted by prosecutors ahead of Ms Khan’s trial said: “The accused managed to hide her husband’s body on their property, without authorisation from any official body empowered to permit it. She acted freely, deliberately and consciously, knowing the criminal responsibility of her conduct. Mr Pennycook probably died on 30 September 2016.”