Glasgow & West Scotland

Paul McManus jailed for brutal murder of Isabelle Sanders during robbery

Paul McManus Image copyright Spindrift
Image caption Paul McManus was convicted of murdering Isabel Sanders at her home in Crookston

A man has been jailed for life for brutally murdering a woman during a robbery at her home in Glasgow.

Paul McManus stabbed 51-year-old Isabelle Sanders 37 times at her house in Crookston on 9 April last year.

He was also convicted of attempting to murder her partner, Norman Busby, 86, and two robbery-related stabbings.

At the High Court in Livingston, McManus, 20, was told he must serve a minimum of 26 years in prison before he can apply for parole.

McManus was jailed for a minimum of 21 years for murder and 14 years for the attempted murder and two other robbery-related stabbings.

He was told he would serve five of the 14 year sentence consecutively with the 21-year sentence for murder.

Jailing McManus, judge Lord Armstrong told him that Ms Sanders and Mr Busby had been living their lives as normal before he robbed their home.

He said: "Their lives and yours had never crossed, but randomly you went to their home armed with two knives, forced your way in and inflicted violence on them."

Criminal record

The judge highlighted the accused's "significant" criminal record, which included convictions for theft, assault and robbery and the use of weapons.

Despite McManus' young age, Lord Armstrong pointed out that he had already served seven sentences of detention and he had committed the murder a matter of weeks after his release from custody.

Image copyright BBC - police handout
Image caption Isabelle Sanders died after suffering 37 stab wounds

The judge told him: "There are no reasons, whether to do with the consumption of drugs and alcohol or your lifestyle otherwise, which could possible justify the taking of another's life as you did.

"I have no doubt that those who knew Isabelle Sanders and her relatives have been deeply affected by all this. No sentence would be regarded as sufficient in their eyes."

Ms Sander's sister, Lindsay Dougall, said McManus should spend the remainder of his life in prison.

'Whole life sentence'

"We would like to acknowledge Lord Armstrong, who given current judicial protocol, has imposed as severe a sentence as likely in this case," she said.

"However, we strongly believe that for violent re-offenders, who flagrantly disregard the rehabilitation offered and the opportunity given to them through early release, who then go on to commit a violent murder, that the Scottish judiciary should be given the option and the guidance to impose a whole of life sentence.

"We will be petitioning the Scottish government to urge parliament to consider this opinion."

Image copyright Spindrift
Image caption Norman Busby was stabbed three times by McManus

Procurator fiscal Jennifer Harrower said McManus had been found guilty of "horrific crimes".

"Paul McManus embarked on an escalating series of assaults and robberies on members of the public, which culminated in the murder of Isabelle Sanders in her own home and the near-murder of her partner," she said.

"There were horrific crimes and McManus has left devastation and sadness in his wake. He now faces spending the rest of his life behind bars."

McManus had denied murdering Ms Sanders and had lodged a defence of incrimination, blaming his former friends Ross Arthurs and Christopher O'Reilly.

Both men denied being at Ms Sanders' home at 77 Raeswood Drive on the night of the murder.

'Covered in blood'

The jury heard how McManus was armed with a knife in each hand when he barged his way into Ms Sanders' home after the door had been answered by Mr Busby.

The 86-year-old man described staggering back and being stabbed "several times" in the chest before Ms Sanders, who had been upstairs in bed, came to the top of the stairs.

Mr Busby said: "Isabelle screamed and ran down the stairs and she saw him standing there. I was lying on the floor covered in blood.

Image caption The attack took place at Ms Sanders' home in Crookston

"She saw him stealing stuff and she tried to push him out the front door and he had his knives and he stabbed her several times.

"She fell to the ground covered in blood. I reached out but she was dead."

The court heard that after seizing car keys from the house, McManus left, taking £300 in cash, a decanter filled with whisky and a laptop. He could not start the car and fled.

Pathologist Dr Marjorie Turner told jurors that Ms Sanders had 61 separate injuries to her body and suffered 37 stab wounds, two of which were fatal.

Mr Busby suffered two punctured lungs in the attack, which could have proved fatal without treatment.

The court was also told by Mr Arthurs that McManus had confessed to him that he carried out the murder.

DNA link

He said McManus told him he "couldn't stop" after attacking Ms Sanders, adding: "He said he stabbed her repeatedly on the head and shoulders. It was horrible."

The jury also heard that a pair of jogging trousers and a tracksuit top belonging to McManus had the DNA of Ms Sanders on them.

The trainers he wore were never recovered. McManus threw them away in a bin in Glasgow city centre after buying a new pair with cash he had stolen from Mr Busby.

In evidence, McManus admitted the jogging trousers and tracksuit top were his, but claimed that on the night of the murder they were worn by Mr Arthurs.

McManus also told the jury that he had stabbed Mr Busby in a panic and was upstairs when Ms Sanders was stabbed by one of his friends.

The jury of nine women and six men took less than two hours to find McManus guilty of all charges.

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