Man who murdered new girlfriend jailed for 23 years

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Claire Inglis suffered 76 injuries in the fatal attack

A man who murdered his new girlfriend weeks after being bailed to her Stirling home has been jailed for a minimum of 23 years.

Christopher McGowan, 28, killed Claire Inglis, also 28, after being granted bail to her housing association flat and placed on a curfew.

Judge Michael O’Grady said McGowan’s actions were “beyond sadistic” as he issued a life sentence.

He said Ms Inglis had suffered “nothing short of torture”.

“It was difficult to portray the brutality of what you inflicted on her. You have shown not a flicker of emotion, distress or remorse,” the judge added.

Ms Inglis’ family, who attended every day of the trial, wept at the High Court in Edinburgh as McGowan’s sentence was read out.

The judge said Ms Inglis’ family now faced “the anguish of living without her”.

A jury previously took just over two hours to convict McGowan of murder.

The court found that McGowan had battered and strangled Ms Inglis before burning her with a lighter and pushing a wet wipe down her throat.

Christopher McGowan had 40 previous convictions, including three for assault

McGowan was released from prison and bailed to stay at Ms Inglis’ address, with a curfew in place between 21:00 and 07:00.

The court heard how bail was granted after McGowan said he was desperate to be released from prison after his mother’s death, claiming he did not want to attend her funeral in handcuffs.

He claimed to be in a “positive” relationship with his new girlfriend, Ms Inglis. McGowan also vowed to kick his Valium habit and stop drinking.

Once living at the flat, he set about pawning Ms Inglis’ possessions including a watch she received for her 21st birthday and her son’s PlayStation.

McGowan had 40 previous convictions, including three for assault. He was on five bail orders at the time of Ms Inglis’ murder.

He also served an 18-month jail term for assault and robbery.

McGowan initially claimed he had been acting in self-defence but that claim was subsequently withdrawn during the trial.

His account of events ranged from claiming Ms Inglis had fallen down the stairs of her flat, to saying she had overdosed on Valium and he had tried to save her life

‘Our lives imploded after Claire’s murder’ – parents Fiona and Ian Inglis

Ms Inglis, a mother-of-one, had been seeing McGowan for just eight weeks when he murdered her.

She sustained 76 injuries during the attack. These included a number of blunt force impacts to the head and face, and extensive bruising to almost her entire skull.

The trial was told of chaotic scenes both outside and inside Ms Inglis’ St Ninians’ flat in the aftermath of the attack in the early hours of 28 November 2021.

McGowan had followed the paramedics into Ms Inglis’ flat, where two neighbours were desperately performing CPR on the young mother.

McGowan was behind the paramedics in the hall saying Ms Inglis had fallen down the stairs and she had taken 50 Valium and half a gram of cocaine.

Claire Inglis was murdered in her home on 28 November 2021

A taxi driver told the trial he had picked up McGowan and Ms Inglis the previous evening in Stirling city centre.

David Addison, 35, was asked how McGowan had spoken to Ms Inglis and he replied: “It was horrible, not nice, the tone of his language. It was very demanding.”

Mr Addison said in his police statement that after Ms Inglis left the taxi, McGowan said under his breath: “I’ll kill you.”

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