Sister’s agony at killer’s hug on night he buried Samantha in shallow grave
SAMANTHA Eastwood’s sister sobbed yesterday as she told of her torment at being hugged by Michael Stirling as he feigned compassion over the midwife’s disappearance – hours after he had buried her in a shallow grave. Gemma, 26, appeared to be trying to avoid looking at the killer in the dock during much of the two-and-a-half-hour hearing at Stafford Crown Court. But when it was time to deliver her statement, she looked directly at Stirling. She said: ‘On the night Samantha went missing the accused had the audacity to turn up at my sister’s house, he had the nerve to walk around my sister’s property like nothing had happened. ‘Every time I mentioned something to the responding officers he would always add something to it, now knowing that he was trying to throw us off the scent, that he was responsible for my sister’s disappearance and death. ‘Other people in the house had their doubts about him. I said in front of the murderer to the officers, I don’t think he had anything to do with the disappearance, and he stood there and didn’t say anything, knowing what he had done to my sister.’ Gemma said that before Stirling left the property he ‘hugged me’. She added: ‘This will forever haunt me. I feel guilty that I should have known and that I let him hug me after what he did.’ She continued: ‘I will never get the chance to say goodbye to my sister, the murderer treated my sister like a piece of meat, taping her up and burying her.’ Gemma said that on July 27 Stirling had robbed her of the chance to ‘grow old with my sister’ and ‘key events in our lives, such as seeing each other get married, and seeing each other’s children’.