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Morag Kinniburgh reports
"She knows the awful thing she has done"
 real 56k

Friday, 4 August, 2000, 12:52 GMT 13:52 UK
Tower block death mother jailed
Flats in Dalmarnock
The tower block is in the east end of Glasgow
A mother who threw her six-year-old son to his death from the 14th floor of a Glasgow tower block has been jailed for five years.

Allison Campbell had been detained in the State Hospital at Carstairs since February after admitting killing her son Derek.

Appearing for sentencing at the High Court in Edinburgh, Lord Penrose accepted medical reports which said there was no reason for her to continue hospital treatment.

The 26-year-old wept in the dock as the court heard of her love for the dead boy and his older brother.

Alison Campbell outside court
Campbell is led from court
Defence counsel Donald Findlay QC said: "The tragedy is that the two things she cherished most in life were the two children."

Campbell was originally charged with murder, but the Crown accepted her guilty plea to the reduced charge of culpable homicide on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Derek and his nine-year-old brother had heard their mother shout "fire" from her bedroom during the early hours of 27 October last year at their flat in the Dalmarnock area of Glasgow.

There was no fire but Campbell picked up Derek, who pleaded: "Mum don't do that" as she threw him through a small gap in safety netting outside the balcony.

"As she did so she was reported to have been laughing," said advocate depute Raymond Doherty QC.

"When Derek landed on the ground she began to cry."

Fires found in flat

Attempts were made to resuscitate Derek, but he was pronounced dead at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

Police found two fires in the flat, one in Derek's mattress and the other in bedding in Campbell's room.

The court heard that Campbell had married in 1993, but her relationship with her husband broke up several years later.

View from a flat window
The boy fell 14 floors to his death
She went through periods of depression and had a history of drink and drug abuse.

A psychiatrist said he believed Campbell could be suffering from a mental condition called schizo effective psychosis, but was not showing any signs at present.

However, Mr Findlay said his client was desperate to have the case resolved.

He said: "I don't think that girl would survive in Carstairs ... not in any recognisable form."

He said that when Campbell was first taken into the state hospital she was "very plainly significantly disturbed".

'Awful nature'

Mr Findlay said Campbell came from a decent, ordinary and supportive family.

"She is very much aware of the awful nature of what she has done," he said.

Campbell had said to him: "Do you realise that I will be serving the sentence for the rest of my life?"

Donald Findlay QC
Donald Findlay QC: "A catastrophe and disaster"
He said: "She has taken drugs in the past but she has been very badly treated by people.

"All of these things came together and resulted in as great a catastrophe and disaster as you and I, my Lord, have seen in these courts.

"If my Lord was to ask me why this happened, I am not in a position to answer."

Campbell realised that any future contact with her surviving son could only take place under supervision.

Lord Penrose told Campbell: "There is no correct answer that anyone can pretend to have for situations such as yours.

"I have no alternative but to impose a significant term of imprisonment."

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See also:

12 May 00 | Scotland
More tests for tower block mother
18 Feb 00 | Scotland
Mother laughed at fatal fall
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