Page last updated at 11:20 GMT, Friday, 31 July 2009 12:20 UK

Chilling betrayal of mother-child bond

By Laura Pettigrew
BBC Scotland news website

Anne and Lisa Brown
Anne Brown was killed by her daughter in a dispute over Lisa Brown's son

The brutal killing of grandmother Anne Brown was described by the prosecution as a "chilling betrayal" of the bond between mother and child.

What began as a missing persons inquiry when Mrs Brown and her grandson disappeared, very quickly culminated in her body being discovered in a watery grave and murder charges against her own daughter and her boyfriend.

The court heard of a history of "bad blood" between Anne and Lisa Brown and an ongoing struggle over the care of Ms Brown's 20-month-old son.

It was a struggle that would ultimately end in a violent dispute.

Consultant forensic psychologist Ian Stephen said it is extremely rare for a woman to kill her own mother.

"In my experience it is usually more likely for sons to kill mothers rather than daughters," he said.

"Women tend to have more verbal confrontations."

I may just go down myself and knock my mum out and take the child
Lisa Brown

As early as 2007 Lisa Brown posted a message on a social networking website saying she hated her mother because she would not be her birthing partner.

She later wrote of a possible meeting and said: "One of us will not be leaving alive. That's how much I hate her. She is stopping me seeing my child."

Lisa Brown's former lover, yacht captain James Martin, told the murder trial at the High Court in Glasgow of an email in which she said: "I may just go down myself and knock my mum out and take the child, drive her car and collect a taxi."

In fact CCTV pictures show on the night Anne Brown died, Lisa Brown and her boyfriend, John Wilson, with whom she shared a flat in Maryhill in Glasgow, travelled by train to the Ayrshire village of Dunlop.

Lisa Brown and John Wilson
The couple were seen shopping in the days after Anne Brown's death

It was dark and raining, and Lisa had a foot-long torch to light the way as they walked the two miles to her mother's home in Burnhouse.

John Wilson told the trial he waited outside while Brown went to tell her mother she was pregnant with his child.

It is not known exactly what happened inside the house but it is thought the grandmother was battered to death, probably with the heavy metal torch.

Wilson then helped his girlfriend wrap her mother's body in a builders sack and sleeping bag.

They tied it up with a chain and cord and weighed it down with stones and bricks.

Two balaclavas were placed over the dead woman's head and her body was bundled into her own car.

At the trial a pathologist told the court that Anne Brown could have survived for up to 30 minutes after the attack.

The prosecution argued that this meant the former nurse may have been alive as the couple "trussed her up."

Child crying

With the young toddler in the vehicle the couple drove to a lonely burn at Connaught Farm.

On an audio recording taken from a nearby CCTV camera and enhanced by experts, a bolted metal gate is heard being opened, there is also a scream and the sound of a vehicle being revved.

But perhaps most chilling is that a child can be heard crying.

Gate near where Anne Brown's body was found
Anne Brown's body was found in an isolated burn in South Ayrshire

Traces of Anne Brown's blood were discovered in the bathroom at her home and there was extensive staining the car.

John Wilson's smudged fingerprint was found in a spot of the grandmother's blood on the car bonnet, where he had tried to push the vehicle when it jammed in a ditch.

Eventually the pair abandoned the car and walked, along with the baby, in the rain, the four or five miles back to Anne Brown's farmhouse.

They spent the night in the dead woman's bed, and before returning to their Glasgow flat the following morning Lisa Brown called her mother's bank to ask about a money transfer.

Anne Brown's mother reported her and the toddler missing on 22 October.

As police began their enquiries Lisa Brown and John Wilson were getting back to normality with her young son in their Maryhill flat.

Clothing washed

It was four or five days after the murder that they asked neighbour, William Stephen, if they could use his washing machine to clean bloodstained clothing.

They did five washes but when they were arrested traces of blood were still on the garments.

Lisa Brown and John Wilson were questioned by police about Anne Brown's disappearance after officers searched the former nurse's isolated cottage.

Chain used to wrap Anne Brown's body
The couple wrapped the body in a sleeping bag and tied it with a chain

The couple said they had gone to Anne Brown's house but had found the child there alone.

The pair were photographed shopping days after Brown's mother was reported missing.

Meanwhile in a separate chain of events an abandoned car was discovered blocking a road near Connaught Farm in Ayrshire.

Days later it was linked to Anne Brown and the police search of the area was scaled up.

Anne Brown's body was pulled from Clerkland Burn on 24th October.

She had 49 wounds and the court heard that her own brother was unable to identify her remains.

Her daughter Lisa Brown, herself now a mother of two, and John Wilson will return to court at a later date to be sentenced.

Print Sponsor

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific