Sunday, September 7, 2008

Scottish wife murderer who stabbed victim 86 times sentenced to a minimum of 19 years

A former accountant who stabbed his wife 86 times at their home in Renfrewshire has been sentenced to life for murder. David Lilburn, 45, admitted killing his 43-year-old wife Ann at their home in Paisley in July last year, but claimed a "black shadow" told him to do it.

At the High Court in Glasgow, Judge Ian Peebles QC described Lilburn as "wholly evil".

He ordered him to serve at least 19 years before he can apply for parole.

The judge told Lilburn: "In my judgement, this was a truly horrific crime and you murdered your wife in a most brutal fashion. This behaviour to your wife, who was completely blameless, seemed to me was based on entirely selfish motives. Your behaviour showed utter heartlessness and can be described as wholly evil. For your children, the death of their mum caused considerable distress and it is clear how much that they were distressed. It is not only them but the wider family as well."

During the trial, Lilburn's defence had claimed mental ill health made him believe a "black shadow" was controlling him.

The court heard that he retired from his job as a forensic accountant in 2001, citing problems with his mental health.

He was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and later schizoaffective disorder. Last year he embarked on an affair after answering an advert in a newspaper lonely hearts column. Lilburn told the court his womanising led to the "complete destruction" of his wife and that their two sons and daughter had lost respect for him.

Ann consulted lawyers about a divorce and her husband was sent a letter demanding he leave the family home for the sake of his wife and daughter.

In the early hours of 29 July last year, Lilburn had gone to sleep in the marital bed despite it being agreed that he use a spare room. The court heard that Ann came home, a row erupted and Lilburn repeatedly banged her head against a door frame and floor. He grabbed four knives from the kitchen before returning to stab his wife 86 times.

On a 999 call, a hysterical Ann was heard to scream "I'm dead" as her husband repeatedly plunged the knives into her body. After the attack, he stepped over his wife's body and went for a shower.

When police arrived, Lilburn said he had no memory of any attack and that he believed his wife was still alive. However, during the trial, he admitted killing her and said a mysterious "black shadow" had telepathically told him to commit the crime.

He claimed his mental health had been suffering in the lead-up to the attack and that he had felt a "sense of foreboding," but the court heard from a score of witnesses who had seen Lilburn prior to the stabbing, including doctors and family, and no-one had reported concerns about his mental health.

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