A woman has admitted killing a ‘generous’ pensioner who spent some of his £86,000 inheritance on holidays for her relatives, a court has heard.
Sharyn Stewart, 53, caused 65-year-old Alan Cowie’s death after she assaulted him at a house in Aberdeen on January 2, 2018.
A jury at the High Court in Edinburgh heard that before his death Mr Cowie inherited tens of thousands of pounds. He used some of the cash to pay for members of Ms Stewart’s family to go on holiday.
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He also bought Ms Stewart’s daughter and her partner, who lived close to him, a sofa and other household goods.
But Mr Cowie, who lived in the city’s Alexander Terrace, lost his life after an attack which saw Ms Stewart “compress his neck”.
Jurors heard the evidence on the first day of proceedings against Ms Stewart who is standing trial on charges of murder and attempted murder.
The jury heard Ms Stewart’s lawyer Stephen O’Rourke QC that his client wanted to plead guilty to a charge of culpable homicide.
However, prosecutors rejected the plea. Ms Stewart’s legal team to enter a special defence of diminished responsibility on their client’s behalf.
The special defence claims that at the time of the attack, Ms Stewart wasn’t responsible for murdering Mr Cowie because her “ability to determine or control her conduct was substantially impaired by reason of abnormality of mind.”
On Wednesday, the trial began with prosecutor Angela Grey reading a statement of evidence which had been agreed between the Crown and Ms Stewart’s lawyers.
The jurors heard how Ms Stewart “caused the death” of Mr Cowie after she assaulted him at Flat A, 15 Alexander Terrace, Aberdeen on January 2 last year.
The jury also heard that Mr Cowie had inherited cash and how on December 29 2017, he telephoned Clydesdale Bank and the Bank of Scotland to report how his bank cards had been stolen.
Alistair Smith,28, also gave evidence. He told Ms Grey how he lived with Ms Stewart’s daughter Lauren and their three children at 15B Alexander Terrace which was located directly across from Mr Cowie’s flat on the ground floor of a tenement.
He said that Mr Cowie and Ms Stewart had a “confusing” relationship.
He added: “To Alan, they were partners. To Sharon they were good friends.”
He also said that both Mr Cowie and Ms Stewart had a drink problem. He also said that Ms Stewart also had a drugs problem.
Mr Smith also told the court that Mr Cowie gave him and his partner money.
He added: “He was a generous man. I knew he had money. He bought us a sofa – this was so we didn’t have to take out finance and we paid him back.
“He took us on holiday. He was a generous guy. He bought my eldest daughter teddies and gifts.”
Mr Smith said that during a break to Blackpool, he witnessed Mr Cowie and Ms Stewart “trying to attack each other” and that he had to “pull them apart”.
He said that both Mr Cowie and Ms Stewart indulged in “childish behaviour”.
He said: “She’d say that he hit her. He’d say she hit him. But I didn’t really take it seriously.
“He’d say that he wanted to marry her and then when he was drunk he used to say ‘get that s***pot away.
“They used to bicker back and forth.”
Prosecutors claim that on April 18 2017, Ms Stewart attempted to murder Mr Cowie at his home, by pushing him and repeatedly kick him on his head and body. She also allegedly placed a plastic bag over his head and restricted his breathing.
The Crown also claim that on January 2 2018, Ms Stewart murdered Mr Cowie by striking him on the head and body with a bottle before knocking him to the ground.
It is also claimed that during this assault, Ms Stewart also stood on Mr Cowie’s neck and also restricted his breathing.
In legal documents, it is said that Ms Stewart is also known as Sharon Stewart. She has entered not guilty pleas to both charges.
The trial, before judge Lord Pentland, continues.