Glasgow & West Scotland

Jean Campbell death: Paul Ward cleared of park murder

Jean Campbell Image copyright Police handout
Image caption Mrs Campbell's body was found in Cranhill Park by her husband

A 21-year-old man has been cleared of murdering a woman in a Glasgow park.

Paul Ward had been deemed mentally unfit to stand trial over the murder of 53-year-old Jean Campbell in Cranhill Park on 13 December 2013.

After an examination of facts hearing at the High Court in Glasgow, in the absence of a jury, judge Lord Matthews found Ward had not killed Mrs Campbell.

The judge said the case against Mr Ward was weak and none of the evidence presented by the Crown was compelling.

Lord Matthews said: "A great many hours of work were put into this case by dedicated policemen, including authorised surveillance of the accused's home, but the result of all of it, is in my opinion at least, a weak Crown case.

"There was proof of a possible, albeit tenuous motive. The accused potentially had the opportunity.

"There are a number of suspicious circumstances in this case and the accused might have committed the acts referred to in the indictment, but that is not the test."

Reasonable doubt

Lord Matthews said that the Crown case did not convince him beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Ward was Mrs Campbell's assailant.

He added: "I appreciate that what I have said might not find favour with the family and friends of Mrs Campbell.

"In this day and age what I have to say may not be the final word on the matter. No doubt the matter can be revisited if compelling new evidence emerges. However, I can only proceed on the evidence presented to me."

Lord Matthews ordered that Mr Ward should be detained at the State Hospital for six hours to allow him to be examined and appropriate medical treatment organised for him.

Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Paul Ward was deemed mentally unfit to stand trial

Defence QC Donald Findlay said: "It is clear this young man is likely to require treatment for a considerable period of time."

Mrs Campbell's widower John looked shocked as the judge's determination was given and had to be comforted by family members.

Responding to the judgement, Det Supt Colin Carey of Police Scotland said: "We acknowledge the outcome of today's written determination. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the family of Jean Campbell and the local community in Cranhill for their cooperation throughout this inquiry."

During the hearing, prosecutors alleged that Mr Ward attacked Mrs Campbell in Cranhill Park, Glasgow, on 13 December 2013 with a dog lead.

Mrs Campbell, who was 4ft 11in and weighed six stones, was ferociously whipped with the lead in a sustained assault in which she suffered 11 broken ribs, a fractured leg, bruising to her head and neck and a brain injury.

Her body was found around 07:40 the following morning by her husband of 35 years John, 56, who came home from nightshift to find all the lights on and no-one at home.

He went looking for her and discovered her body lying in the park. She was wearing a pyjama top and a black coat. Her pyjama bottoms and a pair of flip flops were lying nearby.

A murder hunt was launched to try to find her killer and an appeal for information was made on the BBC's Crimewatch programme.

Mrs Campbell was last seen alive on footage from a CCTV camera taken at 22:30 on 13 December.

'I hate her'

She and her German Shepherd dog Kai were walking along Bellrock Street towards Cranhill Park.

Prosecutors and detectives believe she met her killer in the park and was attacked at about 23:00.

The court heard that Mrs Campbell sometimes shouted at and hit her dog, which was too powerful for her to control.

Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC said: "Mr Ward said words to the effect: 'I hate her. 'She is always hitting the dog. How would she like it if I did that to her.'"

Image caption CCTV images of Mrs Campbell in a local shop were also shown on Crimewatch

Suspicion first fell on Mr Ward after inquiries revealed that he was out walking around the time Mrs Campbell is believed to have been attacked.

Neighbour Yvonne Leyden, 54, whose living room window faced on to Cranhill Park, told of hearing screams and a dog barking around 23:00.

Minutes later she said she opened the door to Mr Ward, who was a friend of her son Thomas Leyden, 24.

Mrs Leyden said Mr Ward arrived minutes after she heard the scream and was was out of breath, but the court heard this was not unusual as he ran everywhere.

Defensive injuries

CCTV footage played in court showed Mr Ward walking towards the communal entrance to number 5 Crowlin Crescent, where the Leyden's lived, at 23:06.

But, crucially, there was no footage to show where Mr Ward had come from.

He could have walked through the park and encountered Mrs Campbell, but equally he could have gone a number of other ways to get to Crowlin Crescent.

No forensic evidence was found linking Mr Ward to the assault on Mrs Campbell, who had fought for her life against her attacker and had defensive injuries to her hands and arms.

Image caption Mrs Campbell was found in Cranhill Park

He also had no signs of cuts or scratches on him.

Mrs Leyden, her son and his then girlfriend, Shelby McPhail, 19, said that when Mr Ward arrived in Crowlin Crescent just after 23:00 he was his normal self and there was no sign of blood or mud on his clothing.

Ms McPhail insisted that Mr Ward was with them when Mrs Leyden spoke to them about hearing screaming.

After Mrs Campbell's death, when rumours began to link Mr Ward to the killing, he denied having anything to do with it.

Killing denied

Police obtained permission to bug his house for four weeks in the belief that Mr Ward would utter something incriminating - but he never did.

He also denied the murder when arrested by police, telling detectives: "It wasn't me."

While on remand in Barlinnie Prison in August last year Mr Ward told his mother during a phone conversation: "What happened to that woman might have been me."

He went on: "I've been hearing stuff in my head. I think I might have hit her once."

But Lord Matthews said he discounted this alleged confession because the taped conversation happened four days after Mr Ward was diagnosed as having a psychotic illness.

The prosecution dismissed any suggestion of a sexual motive for the murder.

But defence QC Donald Findlay claimed that given Mrs Campbell's pyjama bottoms had been removed and she had an unexplained injury to her private parts, the attack could have been sexually motivated.

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