Daily Record

Girlfriend killer is jailed for 23 years

Serial fiend was bailed by courts before horrific attack


A BRUTE who murdered his girlfriend after being bailed to her home by the courts was jailed for 23 years yesterday.

Christophe­r McGowan, 28, was found guilty of choking partner Claire Inglis while awaiting sentence for four other crimes.

The monster also burned her with a lighter during the vicious attack at her house in Stirling.

The thug denied any wrongdoing but after a week long trial earlier this year, jurors took less than two hours to find McGowan guilty of murder.

Judge Michael O’Grady handed McGowan a life sentence with minimum jail time of 23 years and told him he did not believe he was “truly remorseful” for taking Claire’s life.

Speaking after the sentencing at the High Court in Edinburgh, Claire’s mum Fiona told of her family’s torment – and praised the judge for seeing through the killer’s “lies”.

She said: “He saw through his lies. That’s what we kept on thinking, ‘you need to see through his lies, you need to see what this guy is like’. The truth came out. He brutally murdered our daughter in cold blood. He tortured her and killed her. We’ve got to live with that for the rest of our life.”

Claire – who was described as a “beautiful, amazing young mum” – had announced on Facebook in autumn 2021 that she was “in a relationsh­ip” with McGowan, a painter and decorator with previous conviction­s for violence. He had been released from prison, where he had been remanded on charges including dangerous driving following a high-speed police pursuit, a few weeks before the fatal attack. Friends said Claire had been visiting him in jail. A sheriff had given him bail after learning from a social work report that McGowan had a “new girlfriend and that their relationsh­ip was “positive”. The report also stated that he was “motivated to stay out of trouble and come off alcohol and Valium”. This led to the sheriff bailing him to Claire’s address.

Five days before the killing, he received a community payback order, including a curfew requiring him to stay in her flat at night.

CCTV footage released by the Crown Office following his conviction shows Claire going about her day just moments before the attack on November 28, 2021. In the clip Claire is seen entering the McColl’s store on Bannockbur­n Road.

Soon after leaving the store, she suffered more than 76 injuries during a horrific attack at the hands of McGowan which left her with bleeding inside her skull and extensive injuries to her neck.

The jury heard that on the day Claire died, neighbours were woken at 5am by McGowan banging on their doors. One neighbour told the jury McGowan had said: “Waken up, I think I’ve killed her.”

Two neighbours attempted CPR before paramedics arrived to find Claire lying “black and blue” on her bedroom floor, not breathing, with no heartbeat, and what appeared to be a baby wipe so deep in her throat they could not get an airway tube into her without removing it.

Passing sentence, Judge O’Grady warned McGowan that there was no guarantee that he’d be released at the end of his 23-year term.

The court heard how McGowan – who had previous conviction­s for domestic abuse – claimed she had “fallen downstairs”.

Jurors heard McGowan breached a court ordered curfew the night before Claire’s death and was still out, intoxicate­d, in the company of Claire in Stirling city centre at 9pm when he should have been indoors.

He was also subject to four other bail orders at the time and had been jailed for 21 months in April 2020 for threatenin­g to “do in” a cop with a six-inch blade.

Four of the five bail orders that McGowan was on were granted within little more than two months of Claire’s murder. He also had 40 previous conviction­s, including three for assault, and a conviction with a domestic aggravatio­n dating from 2014.

When questioned on McGowan’s bail history yesterday, First Minister Humza Yousaf said: “My thoughts go out to the family and the loved ones of Claire. It’s not for the First Minister or for any government to interfere on bail decisions.

“We are independen­t from the judiciary, made by judges, made by sheriffs, so they must always be.”

Scotland’s procurator fiscal for homicide, Moira Orr, said: “McGowan showed cruelty and contempt for Claire and his actions have left her family devastated.”

The truth came out. He brutally murdered our daughter in cold blood


 ?? ??
 ?? ?? HEARTBROKE­N Claire’s mum Fiona praised the judge for ‘seeing through McGowan’s lies’
HEARTBROKE­N Claire’s mum Fiona praised the judge for ‘seeing through McGowan’s lies’
 ?? ?? SAVAGE Evil McGowan in handcuffs and Claire, right
SAVAGE Evil McGowan in handcuffs and Claire, right
 ?? ?? SLAIN Claire in shop just before death
SLAIN Claire in shop just before death

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