Three-year sentence for woman who killed mother

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The Independent Online

A woman who admitted killing her mother in a fight at her home was jailed today.

Julie Martin, 32, pushed her mother Greta Dewer and compressed her neck during the fight in October last year.

The court heard the two had consumed a "substantial quantity" of alcohol before a row erupted over "minor matters".

Today at the High Court in Glasgow, Lord Bannatyne sentenced Martin - who had earlier admitted a charge of culpable homicide - to three years and three months in prison.

The court heard a social inquiry report revealed Martin thought of her mother, who had a heart condition, as her "best friend".

Martin, who lived in Paisley, fought her mother at her house in Park Green in Erskine, Renfrewshire, on October 23.

She left the house following the fight. Her mother's body was discovered later.

Lord Bannatyne told Martin today: "I have taken into account all that has been said on your behalf in mitigation.

"I have particularly taken into account the remorse that you have expressed."

He continued: "However, I have to have regard for the fact that your mother died as a result of your actions.

"The neck of your mother showed injuries indicative of significant compression of the neck.

"The only possible sentence here is one of imprisonment," he added.

Before the sentence was announced, Ian Duguid QC, defending Martin, told the court: "Both her mother and herself on the day before and the night of this incident had been taking very substantial quantities of alcohol.

"This death arose really out of a disagreement and a disagreement over a very, very minor matter.

"I think amongst other things, whether or not the family cat was going to reside in one particular location or another.

"It developed into a physical fight."

He said both had "something of a difficult background" but Martin said her mother had gone for her initially and provoked a fight.

Mr Duguid said Martin had not intended to kill her mother and was finding it "very difficult" coming to terms with what she had done.

"This was such an unintended consequence and something that blew out of an argument," he added.

Mr Duguid said Martin was also "totally unaware" of her mother's heart condition.

"Any stressful event, it appears, was going to have potentially fatal consequences for the deceased," he told the court.

Mr Duguid said the cause of death was a "combination a factors" including compression of the neck, heart disease and alcohol intoxication.

Mr Duguid said: "She has a number of convictions for relatively minor matters."

One of the convictions included possession of a knife, Mr Duguid said.

Martin waved to relatives as she was led from court to begin her sentence.

Lord Bannatyne said Martin's sentence was backdated to June 23.