Glasgow & West Scotland

Woman killed lover with whiskey birthday gift

James McGrogan and Alexis Cook Image copyright Spindrift
Image caption James McGrogan was attacked in his flat on his 54th birthday by Alexis Cook

A woman killed her lover by striking him on the head with a bottle of whiskey she bought for his birthday.

Alexis Cook attacked James McGrogan with a bottle of American bourbon at his North Lanarkshire flat on 13 March - the day he turned 54.

The assault came just hours after the butcher was reunited with a son he had not seen for a decade.

Cook, 32, had been due to stand trial for murder at the High Court in Glasgow.

But prosecutors accepted her guilty plea to the reduced charge of culpable homicide.

Cook was remanded in custody pending sentencing next month.

'Happy and emotional'

The court heard Mr McGrogan had been celebrating his birthday at his Coatbridge home, initially with Cook - whom he had been dating for about two years - and his mother.

The father later went to a shop and it was there he met his son, whom he had not seen for 10 years.

Prosecutor David Taylor said: "James returned to his flat and was noted to be in a happy and emotional state following this reconciliation."

But Mr McGrogan and Cook later started arguing.

Mr Taylor explained: "She was castigating him for his lack of previous contact with his family. She was noted to be storming in and out of rooms at the flat."

The couple were then heard having a "blazing row" and a neighbour noticed "sounds of a commotion" which appeared to stop about 20:15.

'Big trouble'

It was around this time Cook texted her sister claiming: "Answer your phone. I'm in big trouble."

The killer then went to a nearby flat where blood was spotted on her pyjama bottoms and head.

She confessed to people there: "I hit him with a Jim Beam bottle. It was his birthday today. I hit him twice. I'd bought a bottle of it for him for his birthday."

She claimed that she and Mr McGrogan had been fighting.

Cook went on: "I think I gave him a bad one this time. I left him lying in the hall. He'll be all right. I threw a cover over him."

Before leaving, Cook added: "The next time you hear from me will probably be a letter from Saughton."

It was Cook herself who later dialled 999.

Mr McGrogan was discovered by police lying under a duvet in the hall.

He was found to have "significant head trauma" with a large amount of broken glass in the flat.

Cook told officers she had hit Mr McGrogan, but denied using a weapon.

She also said her boyfriend had bitten her on the bottom.

Profound regrets

Cook insisted Mr McGrogan had been alive when she left his home.

The victim was later found to have injuries consistent with smashed or broken glass.

The cause of death included "blunt force head injury".

Donald Findlay QC, defending, said: "I wish to make clear that Miss Cook has at no point shied away from accepting responsibility for the death."

He added the killing is a crime she "profoundly regrets".

Lord Mulholland deferred sentencing for reports.

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