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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 July 2007, 12:40 GMT 13:40 UK
Life term for grandmother killer
Agnes Mechen
Agnes Mechen's body was hidden under floorboards
A man who murdered a grandmother and hid her body under floorboards in his flat for more than four years has been jailed for life.

Robert Kelly, 32, strangled 64-year-old Agnes Mechen in Govanhill and must spend at least 15 years behind bars before he is eligible for parole.

Kelly robbed the part-time money collector, known as Nessa, of 340.

In a statement, Mrs Mechen's family said they would never get over her death.

Mrs Mechen failed to arrive home on 30 August, 2002 and her whereabouts remained a mystery until January this year when her body was found under the floor of Kelly's Jamieson Street flat.

For four years her family searched for her, unaware that she was buried just streets away.

The anguish and suffering experienced by the family of Mrs Mechen between her disappearance and the discovery of her body cannot be imagined
Lord Brailsford

In a statement, issued through Strathclyde Police, the family said: "For four-and-a-half years we lived in hope that Nessa would return to us safe and well and believed that she was alive somewhere.

"When Nessa's body was discovered and we found out what happened to her it was the worst day of our lives."

In response to reports that Mrs Mechen's family had known Kelly, they added: "We would like to make it clear once and for all that contrary to what has been reported Robert Kelly was never a family friend."

During the trial, the court heard how on the day before the murder, Kelly told his partner, Angela McGeown, that he was going to rob Mrs Mechen.

Then on the day of the murder Kelly told her that he was going to kill Mrs Mechen and showed her a length of cord he intended to use to strangle her.

Robert Kelly
Kelly will serve at least 15 years for the murder

He then described how he was going to bury the body under the floorboards.

Later that evening he reportedly told her: "I did it."

Ms McGeown confided to a family friend who was a police woman and at the end of January this year, the flat was then sealed off by police.

It is not thought Ms McGeown will face any charges in connection with the case.

Sentencing Kelly at the High Court in Glasgow, Lord Brailsford said: "This was a cold-blooded, premeditated and planned murder of an entirely innocent person known to you, designed to give you personal gain.

"The anguish and suffering experienced by the family of Mrs Mechen between her disappearance and the discovery of her body cannot be imagined.

"Mrs Mechen was a much loved and respected member of the community in the Govanhill area."

The judge told Kelly that if he had not pleaded guilty earlier, the sentence would have been one of 20 years.

Mrs Mechen worked five days a week at a Poundstretcher store and on Tuesday and Friday nights she collected money for a provident club in the tenements around Govanhill.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Mrs Mechen's family speak about their loss



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