Scottish Daily Mail

Accused ‘admitted stabbing waiter’

- By Wilma Riley

A MAN accused of murdering Surjit Singh Chhokar admitted to his former sister-in-law that he stabbed him, a murder trial was told yesterday.

Noreen McPolland, 54, claimed that Ronnie Coulter confessed as she visited him in prison in 1998 or 1999 when the 48year-old was on remand awaiting an earlier trial over the restaurant worker’s murder.

Miss McPolland, who was married to the accused’s brother Andrew for 15 years, was giving evidence at the trial of Ronnie Coulter who denies stabbing Mr Chhokar to death in Overtown, Lanarkshir­e, in 1998.

The High Court in Glasgow earlier heard that Ronnie Coulter, of Wishaw, was tried in 1999 and acquitted of murdering Mr Chhokar. Yesterday, Miss McPolland was asked by prosecutor Alex Prentice, QC: ‘Did Ronnie Coulter ever say anything about the death of Surjit Singh Chhokar?’

She replied: ‘He said: ‘I stabbed him. I stabbed the P*** b ***** d.’

Miss McPolland told the jury that she had been visiting Ronnie Coulter in Glasgow’s Barlinnie Prison along with his sister Margaret Chisholm when he made the remarks. She added: ‘Margaret told him to own up to what he had done and he told us he had stabbed Mr Chhokar. I got up and went to the canteen and I bought some stuff. I didn’t want involved in it.’

Defence QC Donald Findlay accused Miss McPolland of lying. He said: ‘You are an actress and putting on an act here.’ She replied: ‘I’m not an actress. I’m telling the truth. It’s time the Chhokar family got justice and closure.’ Mr Findlay said: ‘All these years you claim to have known all these things and you never told anyone?’ Miss McPolland stated: ‘I was a coward.’ The jury has heard that Ronnie Coulter, his nephew Andrew Coulter and David Montgomery went to see Mr Chhokar on November 4, 1998, in a row over a £100 Giro cheque. After an altercatio­n the 32-year-old waiter collapsed dying in the street.

Ronnie Coulter denies murder and has lodged a special defence blaming his nephew and Montgomery. In evidence, both men have denied involvemen­t in the killing. The trial continues.

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