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Last Updated: Friday, 4 November 2005, 14:42 GMT
Judges jail parking death woman
Whittle family members
Family members show their delight at the sentence
A woman who killed a grandmother in a row over a parking space at a car boot sale in Glasgow has been jailed for four years by appeal court judges.

They overturned the original sentence of probation and community service imposed on Carol McMillan, 34, who had admitted killing Ann Whittle, 58.

Mrs Whittle's husband Norman said it was a "brilliant decision".

The Court of Criminal Appeal heard how witnesses described McMillan as "mental, berserk and out-of-control".

Passing judgment, Lord Cullen said there was no alternative to jail.

In a written judgment, he and two other judges said her actions had been "devoid of any mitigating circumstances".

"We consider that the advocate depute was well-founded in maintaining that the sentencing judge [Lady Dorrian] failed to take adequate account of the serious nature of McMillan's attack on Mrs Whittle and that she attached undue weight to McMillan's later expressions of remorse," they wrote.

Norman Whittle
I could not accept that culpable homicide. It is still murder to me and to my family, in their eyes
Norman Whittle

Mrs Whittle, of Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, had an undiagnosed coronary condition and died of a heart attack following the attack by McMillan, a first offender, in Blochairn in August 2004.

During the appeal hearing, the Crown said that one of the factors which had influenced the sentencing judge, Lady Dorrian, was the remorse said to have been shown by McMillan, from Holytown, Lanarkshire.

Up to 10 independent witnesses told how she was in a frenzy as she grabbed her victim by the hair and kicked her in the face three times.

Family reaction

There were cries of "yes" from people in the public gallery as Lord Cullen gave the judges' decision and members of the dead woman's family hugged each other.

Outside the court in Edinburgh, they said they would now be approaching the justice minister, particularly to raise issues related to the plea-bargaining system.

McMillan was originally charged with murder but this was reduced to culpable homicide. Her partner, Charles Freeburn, had sentence deferred for assaulting Mrs Whittle's husband Norman.

Ann Whittle
Ann Whittle collapsed and died after the attack

Mr Whittle said: "I just thought that was a brilliant decision today."

"What she did to my wife was unbelievable - and what I got from her partner Charles Freeburn, a kicking. I could have saved my wife if he hadn't jumped in and given me a kicking."

Speaking of McMillan, he said: "She murdered my wife. I could not accept that culpable homicide. It is still murder to me and to my family, in their eyes."

"It is a good result but four years is four years. I thought she might have got more but that is the way it works with the law. At least we have got something."

Town's good wishes

He added: "The people of Coatbridge have been wonderful. Everyone has helped us. Everyone has wished me good luck."

Heather Russell, Ann Whittle's sister, welcomed the verdict.

"No time will ever be enough, it won't bring Ann back," she said outside the court.

"But this is fantastic because it has been turned around."

The non-custodial sentence caused a storm of protest and a petition was submitted to the Crown Office.

After the hearing, the dead woman's family praised the Crown for doing a "brilliant job".


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Family welcomes custodial sentence



SEE ALSO:
Judges review parking death case
20 Oct 05 |  Scotland
Car park killer sentence appeal
02 Aug 05 |  Scotland
Parking killer sentence condemned
05 Jul 05 |  Scotland
Woman admits car park row killing
03 May 05 |  Scotland
Murder charge over parking row
16 Aug 04 |  Scotland


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