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Last Updated: Friday, 18 July, 2003, 12:54 GMT 13:54 UK
Mother beat young son to death
Gorrie threw herself out of a window
A mother has pleaded guilty to beating her young son to death with a golf club on Christmas Day.

Alison Gorrie, 36, bludgeoned her five-year-old son Brendan and then threw herself out of the window of her Edinburgh flat, falling onto the courtyard 30ft below.

The High Court in Glasgow heard how Gorrie told ambulance personnel: "I've done something terrible. Don't treat me... I want to die. I've done something very bad."

Gorrie had originally been charged with murder but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of culpable homicide on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The court heard that Gorrie, who arrived in a wheelchair for the trial, had been mentally ill at the time.

Brendan was found in his bloodstained bed, lying face down and partially covered with a duvet
Allan McKay

The full horror of what Gorrie had done came to light when a neighbour found her in the courtyard of New Bell's Court, in Leith.

The neighbour asked where she was hurt, to which she replied: "In my heart."

He responded: "Hearts can be mended."

However, Gorrie replied: "Mine can't... I've done something terrible" and looked up to the open second floor window.

Prosecutor Allan McKay said: "Brendan was found in his bloodstained bed, lying face down and partially covered with a duvet.

"He had suffered massive head injuries and a golf putter was lying on top of the bed."

A post-mortem examination showed Brendan had died of "complex skull injuries" and had been hit at least six times with the putter.

High Court, Glasgow
The High Court in Glasgow, where Gorrie appeared

Defence QC Paul McBride told the judge, Lord Macfadyen, that it was "one of the saddest and tragic cases" to go before the court and the sadness was "heightened" because it happened on Christmas Day.

Just hours before killing Brendan at their home, Gorrie, who had a history of depression, had been wrapping Christmas presents.

Her estranged husband Bruce Gorrie, 37, had spent Christmas Eve with her and their son.

Mr McKay said: "After Brendan was put to bed he went to his own home nearby. He did not think there was anything amiss with his wife."

However, at 0145 BST, Alison Gorrie phoned an on-call doctor.

She said she was suicidal, could not cope with Christmas and planned to jump from the window.

At 0200 BST a doctor visited her and agreed that she should go to the Royal Edinburgh Hospital for psychiatric assessment.

Mr McKay said Gorrie was "reluctant" to go to hospital, but she was persuaded by the doctor to agree and he called an ambulance.

Her friend, Jacqueline Sloan, 27, agreed to stay over and care for Brendan.

Medical reports

Mr Gorrie was contacted and phoned her several times.

Mr McKay said: "It is not clear what was said, but she then decided not to go to hospital. When the ambulance arrived at 3.30am it was sent away."

At 0445 BST, Gorrie went to sleep in Brendan's room while Miss Sloan slept in the living room.

Mr McKay said Miss Sloan awoke at 0700 BST and half an hour later she heard a "metallic banging noise" and thought it was Brendan playing with toys.

It was only when a neighbour found Gorrie lying injured in the courtyard an hour later that the alarm was raised.

Police arrived at the door and officers went with Miss Sloan into Brendan's room where his body was discovered.

The court heard that Gorrie cannot walk and has limited use of her arms.

Mr McBride said she was to be transferred next week back to the hospital clinic in Edinburgh for further psychiatric treatment.

Sentence was deferred until 14 August at the High Court in Edinburgh pending medical reports.

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27 Dec 02  |  Scotland
Boy was 'beaten to death'
26 Dec 02  |  Scotland

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