Grandmother weeps in the dock as she relives moment she ‘exploded’ and killed a pensioner at a flat in Aberdeen

Alan Cowie
Alan Cowie

A grandmother wept as she told a court of the moment she “exploded” and killed a pensioner following an argument at his home.

Sharyn Stewart, 53, told jurors that she took 65-year-old Alan Cowie’s life during a confrontation at his flat in Aberdeen on January 2, 2018.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard Ms Stewart say on Monday that in the months leading to the assault, she occasionally lived with Mr Cowie.


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She told defence lawyer Stephen O’Rourke QC that she and Mr Cowie weren’t romantically involved.

However, she said that Mr Cowie would verbally abuse her. She said that he had occasionally asked her to sleep with him but she didn’t have any sexual interest in him.

Ms Stewart told the court that before she killed Mr Cowie, she had spent the day with him drinking alcohol.

Woman admits killing Aberdeen pensioner who gave her part of his £86,000 inheritance money for a relatives’ holidays and household items

She said they had started arguing with each other in the moments leading up to the assault.

Ms Stewart said: “The argument was going back and forth. I said ‘p*** off you old b*****d’ – that’s the last thing I said to him.

“He was going on about how my pyjamas were made of steel as I wouldn’t let him anywhere near me.

“I remember him running into me and pushing me – I fell back.

“It was like slow motion. When I got up, I don’t know – I exploded. I remember standing over him with my feet on his throat.

“He was laughing at me. I was banging him off the floor. I was shouting ‘shut the **** up, shut the **** up.”

The residence on Alexander Terrace where Alan Cowie lived.

“That’s what I remember. Everything was just ‘boom! Boom! Boom! I went to the living room and closed the kitchen door. I walked up and down the floor for what seemed like hours.

“I was drinking vodka straight from the bottle.

“Now, I think, why did I not stop, why did I not stop?”

Ms Stewart, of Aberdeen, was giving evidence on the fourth day of proceedings against her.

She denies charges of murdering Mr Cowie and attempting to murder him in April 2017.

On Monday, Ms Stewart told Mr O’Rourke that she had spent her life battling addictions to alcohol and drugs.

She said that she had worked as a prostitute and had also attempted suicide.

Ms Stewart said that she first met Mr Cowie as her daughter lived directly beside him at his property in Alexander Terrace, Aberdeen.

The court heard that even although she had her own flat nearby, Ms Stewart would spend many evenings staying with Mr Cowie in his spare room.

She told Mr O’Rourke that they weren’t romantically involved. However, she also said that Mr Cowie’s behaviour was “weird” and that he would “spy on her”.

She said that he asked her if she had worked as a prostitute and would verbally abuse her for not sleeping with him.

Ms Stewart added: “He would shout. He would call me ‘s**tpot’ all for not lying in his bed.

“He would call me names. If I was with a friend, I was a prostitute and if I was with a girlfriend, he would call me a lesbian. I just couldn’t win.”

When Mr O’Rourke asked her what her relationship was like, Ms Stewart said: “It wasn’t good. It was volatile. We weren’t good for each other.”

Ms Stewart also said that in the four days before the January 2 assault, she failed to take medication which regulated her health. The court heard that the medication included methadone.

She added: “The lack of tablets made me overthink constantly.”

Prosecutors claim that on April 18, 2017, Ms Stewart attempted to murder Mr Cowie at his home by pushing him and repeatedly kicking him on his head and body.

She also allegedly placed a plastic bag over his head and allegedly 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.

She has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Her legal team have entered a special defence which states that at the time of the January 2 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”.

The trial, before judge Lord Pentland, continues.

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