Coatbridge couple jailed for life over 999 call murder

Image caption,
The couple attacked Ms Kelly because they thought she would give evidence against Renicks

A man and woman who were recorded by emergency operators carrying out a brutal killing in North Lanarkshire have been jailed for life.

Colin Renicks, 38, and his 20-year-old girlfriend Megan Watt used a bottle and knives to kill Ann Marie Kelly, 36, at her Coatbridge home in February 2010.

Renicks, who admitted murder, must serve 19 years in prison before being eligible for parole.

Watt, who was convicted of murder, will spend a minimum of 20 years in jail.

Renicks pleaded guilty to the murder after the end of the prosecution case, while Watt was found guilty by a jury at the High Court in Glasgow.

The court heard that the couple launched the attack because they thought Ms Kelly was going to give evidence in court against Renicks.

The jury was shown a letter dated 18 February, in which Watt wrote to Renicks: "See if Ann Marie goes to court I'm gonna stab...her."

The victim's boyfriend Joseph Curtis, who was forced to watch the attack, managed to dial 999 on his phone.

The killers grabbed the phone from Mr Curtis and threw it away, but unknown to them it was still recording.

In a horrific 20-minute call, which was played to the jury, terrified Ms Kelly, whose arm was in a plaster, was heard shouting: "Please don't, don't please."

At one point, in a desperate bid to stop the violence, the mother-of-four pretended to her killers that she was pregnant, but the attack continued.

On the tape Renicks is heard saying: "I need to kill her."

At one point Watt said: "I pushed the blade right in. It's me that killed her."

'Defenceless girl'

During the tape the jurors could hear a bottle being smashed over her head and the sound of a knife being stabbed into her face.

Ms Kelly died from blood loss and blunt force trauma to the head.

Jailing Renicks and Watt at the High Court in Livingston, temporary judge John Morris QC said people would be "haunted" for some time to come by the recording of Ms Kelly's murder.

He told them: "You stand convicted of a brutal murder of a defenceless girl and you ignored her cries for mercy.

"It is aggravated by the prevention of her giving evidence in another matter.

"Colin Renicks I take into account your earlier plea and will reduce your sentence by three years to 19 years.

"Megan Watt you are due no reduction but I take into account your relatively young age and you will serve 20 years."

Outside court, Anne Marie's brother Kevin, 35, said the murder had been a "shocking" event for his family.

He said: "Anne Marie was killed 10 days after my daughter Margot was born. She never got to see the baby and my daughter will never know her auntie. It's so sad.

"We knew that the sentence was going to be a good one and we're really glad that the judge said neither of them will get parole for at least 19 years.

"This was such a heinous crime that they deserved everything they got, and they don't deserve the right to appeal."

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