Son jailed for 'vicious' murder of elderly mother

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Dalziel Street, Hamilton.Image source, Google
Image caption,
Mary Haley was murdered in her home in Dalziel Street in Hamilton

A man who savagely murdered his elderly mother in her home has been jailed for a minimum of 20 years.

Craig Haley left Mary Haley with at least 55 injuries following the attack in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, in February 2020.

The 75-year-old was punched, kicked, dragged, strangled and bludgeoned with an ashtray.

Afterwards Haley, 37, was caught on CCTV buying alcohol and a packet of crisps.

The High Court in Glasgow heard Ms Haley's body was found by another son the following day.

Lord Sandison said the murder involved "ferocious and sustained violence" as he imposed a life sentence.

The judge told Haley: "This was a vicious attack in your mother's home.

"Your crime defies the comprehension of any decent person.

"She was a loving and loved mother. You entered the house and took the life of someone who had given you life."

The killer was said to have been aggressive and had been demanding money from the pensioner in the weeks before the killing.

It was also claimed he assaulted her and smashed pictures at her home.

Haley was spotted returning to the property on the afternoon of 8 February 2020.

'Evil laugh'

Ms Haley's neighbour Violet Bradley recalled him yelling at his mother.

She also described hearing an "evil laugh" and him "growling like a dog".

The 58-year-old told jurors: "He was shouting that his dad was better off without her.

"I heard Mary say, 'What you on today? You must be on something'.

"He must have been on top of her as she said, 'Can you get off me, I can't breathe'."

Ms Bradley then heard what she thought was furniture being dragged - but prosecutors believe it was Ms Haley being pulled across the property.

The witness was so scared she left for her daughter's home.

When she returned that night, Ms Haley's blinds were shut and a light was on, which was said to be unusual.

It later emerged Haley locked the door and fled, leaving his dead or dying mother inside.

Mary's other son, Scott Glassford, went to her home the next day.

The 40-year-old sobbed as he recalled shouting for the his mother - then finding her lying in the living room.

Catalogue of injuries

Mr Glassford said: "I put my hand on her finger and it was cold.

"I touched her chest but it was also cold and there was blood on her face."

The court heard Ms Haley had 55 blunt force injuries to her head and body.

She also had fractures in her neck, consistent with being strangled, and a brain injury.

Haley was spotted on the night of the murder at a cash machine and then at a petrol station, near his home in Larkhall, buying alcohol and crisps.

Prosecutor Graeme Jessop told the jury: "Does that sound like someone who cares if his mother lives or dies after he attacked her?

"He did not dial 999 or seek assistance for her."

'Isolated and targeted'

Haley asked a neighbour for a radio, which Mr Jessop suggested was needed to check local news about the death.

DNA also linked Haley to the crime, including his prints on an ashtray thought to have been used as a weapon to strike his mother.

Haley had denied murder and was said to have told a witness that he had been "defending himself".

After the verdict, it emerged the killer already had 24 convictions, including for assault.

Det Insp Frank Travers, the senior investigating officer, said: "This was an isolated and targeted attack which has been incredibly difficult for the victim's family to come to terms with.

"Craig Haley will now have to live with the consequences and realisation of what he has done.

"Hopefully this conviction will give Mary's family closure on what has been an extremely difficult time."

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