Glasgow & West Scotland

Greenock murder victim Stephen McGowan hunted in taxi

Stephen McGowan Image copyright BBC - POLICE HANDOUT
Image caption Stephen McGowan died in a common close in Tobago Street in Greenock

One man has admitted murder and another man pleaded guilty to culpable homicide over a stabbing in which the victim was hunted down in a taxi.

Connor Grana, 18, and Graeme Carter, 26, chased Stephen McGowan before ordering a taxi to follow the 23-year-old as he tried to escape in a cab.

Grana then stabbed Mr McGowan as he frantically tried to gain access to flats in Greenock on 27 July.

Sentence on Grana for murder and Carter for culpable homicide was deferred.

The court heard that Grana and Carter chased Mr McGowan on foot through the streets of Greenock before the victim managed to hail a taxi.

'They're after me'

Driver Neil Munro said he noted that Mr McGowan was out of breath and told him 'they're after me, they're going to stab me, want to just drive mate'".

Mr Munro told police that he looked in his rear view mirror and saw a man running at his taxi.

Mr McGowan, who he described as looking frightened, asked to be taken to High Street.

The court heard that Grana and Carter hailed another taxi, which was driven by Lee Cleary. He said he was told: "Follow that taxi."

The chase was captured on CCTV in the town.

Grana, who was sitting in the front passenger seat of the taxi, was asked why he was chasing Mr McGowan and replied: 'Because the guy owes me lots of money.'

When Mr McGowan was dropped off at flat's in the town's High Street, at about 03:00, he began buzzing the close entry system.

But Grana leapt out of the pursuing taxi, in the driver's words "in a real hurry Usain Bolt style".

Heart wound

While Carter paid the driver Grana stabbed Mr McGowan three times inside the close.

Despite being fatally injured, the victim managed to walk to his girlfriend's mother's house for help.

After knocking the door he collapsed and died.

The court heard that one of the stab wounds entered Mr McGowan's heart and another cut into a major blood vessel.

Grana, who is detained in Polmont Young Offenders' Institution, admitted murdering Mr McGowan and faces a mandatory life sentence.

Co-accused Carter, who is detained at Low Moss, was originally charged with murder.

The Crown accepted his guilty plea to the lesser charge of culpable homicide as he was involved in the pursuit of Mr McGowan but did not stab him.

Judge Lord Bannatyne deferred sentence on both men for background reports.

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