Daily Mail

Sis­ter’s agony at killer’s hug on night he buried Sa­man­tha in shal­low grave

- By Andy Dolan

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’.

 ??  ?? Grief: Gemma, right, and sis­ter Sa­man­tha
Grief: Gemma, right, and sis­ter Sa­man­tha

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