Abused wife convicted of murder

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The Independent Online
A POLICEMAN'S wife, who said she shot her sleeping husband because he had sexually abused her for years, was found guilty of murder yesterday and jailed for life.

Kim Galbraith, 30, had admitted killing her husband Ian Galbraith, 37, with a rifle at their cottage in Furnace, Argyll, but denied it was murder. Her lawyers had sought conviction on the lesser charge of culpable homicide.

Galbraith wept as the jury of 11 men and 4 women at Glasgow High Court returned a majority verdict at the end of a three-week trial. Lord Osborne, the trial judge, told her: "Parliament has prescribed that the only sentence I can impose in the circumstances now considering the verdict of the jury is one of life imprisonment." The sentence was back-dated to 14 January this year, the day she was first taken into custody.

As Galbraith was led from the dock, her sobbing mother, comforted by her husband, called out to her daughter: "I'm sorry, I'm sorry."

The trial had been told that Galbraith shot her burly 6ft 6in husband dead as he slept in their bedroom at Sandhole Cottage in Furnace on the night of 13 January. After creating disorder in the house to prepare the ground for a cover story - that the murder was the work of two masked intruders - she went upstairs, lay behind him and killed him with a single shot to the head from his rifle.

Soon after, in a 999 call, she claimed masked intruders had got into the house and killed her husband, after one of them had raped her. But questioned further that day by police, she confessed, and claimed she had killed him in desperation, after years of sexual abuse which included being forced to have sex in a dog kennel. She said that she had considered shooting herself, but had been unable to do so because of their baby daughter, Lauren.

Galbraith claimed that her husband had forced her to perform sex acts with prostitutes, and that on occasions she had been shackled to the bed with her husband's handcuffs. In a taped police interview, she said: "I should have run away, but I knew he would find me because he's a policeman."

A psychologist called by the defence compared Galbraith's husband to Fred West. Dr Mairead Tagg had told the court: "Kim Galbraith has been the victim of horrifying sexual and physical abuse. As a direct result, she has suffered profound psychological trauma." However, Dr Tagg admitted that she had come to this conclusion after only one meeting with Galbraith.

Doubt was also cast on her claims that her husband had collected Nazi memorabilia. Galbraith's lawyer, Donald Findlay QC, showed the court a book with pictures of Hitler, but Mr Galbraith's friends said that the material did not relate to the man they knew.