Glasgow & West Scotland

Son murdered mother and set her on fire

William Kelly Image copyright Spindrift
Image caption William Kelly murdered his mother at their home in Kilmarnock after she embarrassed him at a family party.

A son has been found guilty of murdering his 71-year-old mother by dousing her in petrol and setting her on fire.

William Kelly, 42, shouted "die, die" as his mother Cathy Kelly was engulfed in flames at their home last February.

During the brutal attack he answered a call in a silly voice pretending to be a worker in an Indian restaurant.

After the blaze Kelly's only concern was the safety of his West Highland terrier Poppy.

He is now facing a life sentence when he hears his fate next month.

Throughout his trial Kelly denied murdering his mother at the home they shared at Kilmaurs Road, Kilmarnock, on 11 February.

He said he had never hit his mother and claimed she had been set on fire by accident.

He told the court he was cleaning a car part in the garage and spilt petrol on his trousers and trainers. Kelly claimed that as he bent over his mother as she lay on the living room floor he lit a cigarette and there was a blue flash.

But the jury heard that there was no trail of petrol from the garage into the living room.

Image copyright Spindrift
Image caption Eleanor Banks saw Kelly pour petrol on his mother

They were also told by a fire expert that if the fire had happened as Kelly claimed he would have been much more badly injured.

The jury at the High Court in Glasgow was told that minutes before the fire Kelly had violently punched and kicked his mother leaving her lying face down on the living room floor.

After finishing the call Kelly went back and further assaulted his defenceless mother - who always referred to him as "ma boy".

'Distressing and sad'

Yesterday after deliberating for 90 minutes the jury unanimously convicted Kelly of murdering his mother.

He showed no emotion as he was led away to the cells.

Judge Lady Stacey told the jurors: "What you have had to listen to has been distressing and sad."

The court heard that Kelly was raging because his mother had embarrassed him at a 21st birthday party by drinking too much.

He ordered his mother and his then partner Eleanor Banks to leave and called a taxi.

When they returned home around 11pm he dragged his mother by the arms into the house after she fell as she got out the taxi.

Kelly then punched and kicked the helpless OAP on the head and body in the living room of their home.

Image caption Catherine Kelly died in the fire at her Kilmarnock home

Mrs Banks, 44, told prosecutor Ashley Edwards QC: "William was emptying a petrol can onto his mum - all over her - and I couldn't stop him.

"I was standing screaming 'You're going to kill your mum' and he was saying 'die' The liquid smelled like petrol.

"He went down and he set fire at the bottom of her legs.

"She just went up like an inferno. I've never seen anything like it. In the blink of an eye she was on fire."

'Two black eyes for Christmas'

A pathologist said that Cathy suffered bruising, broken ribs and second degree burns to 45% to her body. She also had a cut to her tongue and bruised lips.

Forensic scientists revealed that the top Cathy was wearing that night was saturated in petrol.

Jurors heard that Cathy was recovering from a brain haemorrhage which she suffered in December 2016 and it was alleged that this was caused by beatings inflicted by Kelly.

Kelly boasted in a text sent in early December 2016 of wanting to give his mother "two black eyes for Christmas."

Det Ch Insp Allan Burton of Police Scotland's Major Investigation Team said: "This was a challenging case involving several emergency services and agencies working together to establish and interpret the facts from what was a very complex crime scene.

"My thoughts today are with the family and I would particularly like to recognise the bravery of those family members who had to stand up and provide testimony in court.

"It has been a very difficult time for them over the past few months and I hope they can find some comfort in the verdict today.

"I would also like to acknowledge the dedication and commitment of the officers involved in this investigation as well as the Scottish Fire Service's Investigation Officers, whose reports and testimony greatly assisted in this case."

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