Killer Andrew Innes must serve at least 36 years in jail for double murder
A man who killed a woman and her two-year-old daughter before burying their bodies under his kitchen floor has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 36 years.
Andrew Innes, 52, was found guilty of murdering Bennylyn Burke, 25, and Jellica Burke (pictured) after a five-day trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.
He was also convicted of sexually abusing the toddler and raping another child at his Dundee home between February 20 and March 5 2021.
Bennylyn and Jellica Burke’s family said they would be “forever haunted” by Innes’s crimes.
Judge Lord Beckett instructed the jury to return guilty verdicts on both murder charges, following medical evidence heard on Innes’ state of mind at the time.
Innes, who at times sobbed in the witness box while giving evidence in his defence, had denied the charges but the jury of eight men and seven women spent just under two and a half hours to find he was responsible for the crimes.
In a statement via the Crown Office’s Victim Information and Advice (Via) service, the victims’ family, who travelled from the Philippines to attend the trial, said: “A big part of our family has been torn from us. We shall never see Bennylyn and Jellica again.
“We shall never know our beloved Jellica or ever see her grow up.”
The statement continued: “We shall be forever haunted by what happened to (Bennylyn) in this far-off place such a long way from us, her family.”
It concluded: “There is nothing that can restore Bennylyn and Jellica to us. But the jury’s guilty verdict for murder provides some comfort to our family and friends and brings justice for Bennylyn and Jellica.”
Detective Chief Inspector Graham Smith said in almost 30 years of police “the depravity shown by Andrew Innes was beyond anything” he or colleagues had seen before.
“Not only did he callously take the lives of a young mother and an innocent child, he then set out to escape justice by burying their bodies beneath his kitchen floor,” he said.
“His actions showed no regard for human life, or for the suffering and anguish he brought to their loved ones.”
Passing sentence, Lord Beckett said the “difficult and harrowing” case was one of the worst to have come before a Scottish court.
On his arrest, Innes had claimed that Ms Burke lunged at him with a sushi knife and that killing her was an act of self-defence.
But this was not true, he admitted as he took to the witness box on the third day of his trial.
Instead, the court was told, he was “apocalyptically angry” as he hit her in the head repeatedly with a hammer before stabbing her with a samurai sword retrieved from his office.
The killing came as she was preparing food in the kitchen, he said, and he thought she looked like a hybrid of his estranged wife and jilted lover.
In a pre-recorded interview with one of his victims, the girl he was found to have raped, she told how a hammer was used to kill Ms Burke.
The girl said Jellica was killed during a game of hide-and-seek, and told the interviewer she could not save them because “she didn’t know what was happening”.
She said Innes sexually abused the toddler, and described the repeated sexual assaults and rapes inflicted on her.
Innes denied the sex attacks when arrested and on March 5 told Dc Hardie: “I never touched the girl.”
But a jury found this to be a lie, having been presented with DNA evidence from items including handcuffs and clothing. From the outset of the trial they were told the girl had chlamydia, the same infection that Innes had.
Innes’ lies unravelled further when the evidence of his mental state at the time was discussed.
Dr Gordon Cowan, a psychiatrist, told the court Innes had changed his story multiple times when asked why he killed Ms Burke. At first it was acting in self-defence, then he heard voices, before Innes finally settled on his hybrid-vision story.
Dr Cowan said of Innes: “It’s clear he held resentment towards his ex-partners and this lady in front of him, in some way, reminded him of these ladies and he became angry, uncontrollably angry at her.”
Innes claimed he was “insane as a result of the steroids” that he had been prescribed for his Crohn’s disease, but Dr Cowan said he did not believe the 52-year-old was impaired at the time of the killings.
After he murdered them, with the toddler having been killed around three days after Ms Burke, Innes hid them in concrete below the kitchen floor at his home in Troon Avenue, Dundee.
Judge Lord Beckett sentenced Innes to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 36 years behind bars.
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