Glasgow & West Scotland

Family 'devastated' by James Simpson car thief murder

James and Minnie Simpson
Image caption Jamie Simpson described his parents James and Minnie as a happy couple

The wife of a pensioner who was murdered when a car thief ran him over outside his South Lanarkshire home no longer wants to live, their son says.

James Simpson, 76, died after being hit by his own black Land Rover Discovery in Graham Place, Ashgill, near Larkhall, on Tuesday night.

Jamie Simpson described his father as a "man deeply content with life" and said his death had "devastated" the family.

His comments came during an appeal to help catch his father's killer.

Police have also released details of the car's number plate and a description of a suspect in a bid to encourage people from the local community to come forward with information.

'Content' man

The car was a black Land Rover Discovery, registration number SG57 GVN.

It was later recovered intact about five miles away in Crossford.

Detectives believe whoever stole Mr Simpson's car may have attempted to enter his house to try to find the keys.

Mr Simpson, who was at home with his wife, went out to try to prevent the theft and was hit by the car. He died at the scene.

Speaking at a police news conference, Mr Simpson's son, Jamie, said: "Five days ago my dad was a man deeply content with a life he had worked hard to build.

"He and my mum were living every day to its maximum potential, even though they are both in their 70s."

Mr Simpson said his parents "neither took or stole anything" and just wanted to "work hard, be happy themselves, be happy with all those around".

"If you asked anyone what my dad was like, they'd tell you he would smile and joke with everyone and just loved life," he said.

"One day ago, I saw my father lying on a cold table with blood on his face.

"Now I have to watch my mother suffer from flashbacks to what she witnessed that day - breaking into uncontrollable fits - and listen every day as my mother tells me she no longer wants to live anymore."

'Horrific murder'

Mr Simpson said the people who stole his father's car also believed it was "their right to run over my father, leaving my dad abandoned, dying on the kerbside".

He added: "Three miles later, they decided to abandon the car they took his life for, leaving my father dead and my family devastated.

"Please, if there is any information you have that would help this investigation, no matter how small or insignificant this may seem to be, please come forward as soon as you can."

Image caption Jamie Simpson spoke with his mother at his side

Speaking at the news conference Det Supt Robbie Allan, who is leading the investigation, said police remained confident they would bring those responsible to justice.

He said after it was stolen the Land Rover travelled between Ashgill and Crossford and was abandoned between 20:00 and 21:00 on Tuesday.

Det Supt Allan said police had a description of "one of the occupants" as a white male, in his 30s, with short, dark hair, wearing dark clothing.

He added: "This incident escalated from what was the theft of a motor vehicle to the most horrific of murders.

"I firmly believe that anyone involved in this will have confided in someone. If you are that person consider your conscience and please come forward.

"The black Land Rover Discovery was abandoned in Crossford. I believe this was done in haste and again I suspect those involved had assistance from person or persons. If you are that person consider your conscience and come forward."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites