Highlands & Islands

Pensioner convicted of murdering woman in Inverness

Elizabeth Mackay Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Elizabeth MacKay was killed in her home last year

A pensioner is facing a life sentence after being convicted of the murder of a woman in her home in Inverness.

Michael Taylor, 71, had denied killing 60-year-old Elizabeth MacKay, who was also known as Muir, in March last year.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how prosecutors were unable to discover why he punched and struck her with a pot or pan in an attack.

Taylor has been remanded in custody and will be sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh on 16 June.

The trial heard that police found Taylor's his fingerprints and "large amounts" of his DNA at the scene.

Detectives also discovered that Taylor had admitted assaulting Ms MacKay to two people following the crime.

'Terrifying death'

On their second day of deliberations, jurors returned a guilty verdict to murder.

Judge Michael O'Grady QC told Taylor that the law required him to pass a life sentence for murder.

But Judge O'Grady also told Taylor that he would have to obtain a report about his character before he would impose the sentence.

Ordering Taylor to be remanded in custody, the judge said: "Mr Taylor - you have been convicted of an appalling offence.

Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Police said Ms MacKay made "great efforts" to defend herself against Taylor

"Murder is always an appalling offence. The brutality of this particular offence is quite staggering. No one, I imagine, will ever know why it should be that you attacked this woman in this fashion.

"What is abundantly clear is that she must have suffered a painful and terrifying death at your hands.

"There's only one sentence I can impose in relation to this offence. However, I'm obliged to obtain a report in this case. The imposition of a life sentence in this case is inevitable."

The verdict in the case came on the 11th day of proceedings against Taylor, who had denied any wrongdoing.

Proceedings in the case were conducted in an unusual manner. Judge O'Grady adjourned the hearing at 30 minute intervals to give Taylor a 10 minute break.

Jurors were told that Taylor had "health difficulties" which meant he could not sit in the dock for long periods of time.

'Evade capture'

The court heard that police were unable to find out why Taylor, whose wife died 20 years ago, attacked Ms MacKay.

Police investigating the crime believed that he attacked her at some time between 28 March and 31 March last year.

Following the conviction, Det Ch Insp Keith Hardie, of Police Scotland's Major Investigation Team, said: "We welcome today's conviction of Michael Taylor following the death of Elizabeth within her home at Inverness last year.

"It was clear from the outset that Elizabeth had suffered a violent attack at the hands of a person who then tried to evade capture by police.

"She made great efforts to defend herself, but it was sadly not enough."

He added: "I can only hope that this outcome, which I know may not provide Elizabeth's family and friends with any closure, can help them begin to move on with their lives.

"Our thoughts are with them today."

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