Man jailed for life for murdering sister in ‘truly evil’ attack

Connor Gibson killed his sister, Amber, 16, in Cadzow Glen, Hamilton, in November 2021.

Lauren Gilmour
Monday 04 September 2023 16:07 BST
Connor Gibson was captured on CCTV walking alone on a street in Hamilton (Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service/PA)
Connor Gibson was captured on CCTV walking alone on a street in Hamilton (Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service/PA) (PA Media)

A man convicted of the murder and sexual assault of his teenage sister in a “truly evil” attack has been ordered to spend at least 22 years behind bars.

Connor Gibson, 21, was found guilty of attacking his sister, Amber Gibson, in woodland, removing her clothes, sexually assaulting with the intention of raping her, inflicting blunt force trauma to her head and body, and strangling her following a trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

He was handed a life sentence and ordered to spend a minimum of 22 years behind bars before he can be considered for parole when he was sentenced at the High Court in Livingston on Monday.

Sentencing Gibson, judge Lord Mulholland said: “She was looking forward to seeing you the night she was murdered, she even posted a selfie of both of you on her Snapchat.

“The last person she saw alive was you, her brother, having strangled the life out of her after beating her up and trying to rape her.

“What you did was truly evil.

Science told the world what you had done to Amber.”

Stephen Corrigan, 45, who was found guilty of attempting to defeat the ends of justice and breach of the peace by intimately touching and concealing Amber’s body after discovering her at some point in the following two days, instead of contacting the emergency services, was also sentenced.

He was jailed for nine years.

Amber’s foster family could be heard sobbing in the public gallery as an emotionless Gibson was led away to begin his sentence.

Following Gibson’s conviction, judge Lord Mulholland described the crime, which happened in woodland in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, on November 26 2021 as “depraved”.

Amber, 16, was reported missing on the evening of November 26 and her body was discovered in Cadzow Glen in Hamilton two days later on 28 November at 10.10am.

Gibson was arrested three days later, on December 1, and, the day before his arrest, posted a chilling tribute to the sister he had murdered, writing on Facebook: “Amber, you will fly high for the rest of time.

“We will all miss you. Especially me. I love you ginger midget. GBFN (goodbye for now) X.”

During the trial, the court heard how evidence from forensic pathologists showed Amber had died as a result of compression of the neck.

In mitigation, Tony Graham KC, representing Gibson, told the court how he had been abused in his early years and had endured a “narrative of emotional abuse and neglect”.

She kept us on our toes and had the most amazing outlook on life considering the suffering she had experienced

Amber Gibson's foster parents

Mr Graham said: “I make reference to these matters to reconcile how a brother can act in such a way.”

In mitigation for Corrigan, the 45-year-old’s lawyer, Rhonda Anderson, told Lord Mulholland he “continues to maintain his innocence”.

She added: “But he accepts he must face the consequences of the jury’s decision.”

Ms Anderson explained how Corrigan had suffered trauma in his early childhood but had no major offending history and was at a low risk of offending.

In sentencing Corrigan, Lord Mulholland said any other person would have “called the emergency services” upon discovering a dead body, but that Corrigan went on to touch the teenager inappropriately.

In a separate case, it emerged that Amber was raped five months before she was murdered by her brother.

Jamie Starrs, 20, assaulted Amber Gibson and raped her while she was asleep or unconscious at a property in Bothwell in June 2021 and was jailed for 10 and a half years last month after being convicted following a trial.

When Gibson was convicted, the former foster family of both siblings said in a statement that Amber was “the most giving, loving, supportive and admirable person”, and their life will “never be the same again”.

The family said: “She kept us on our toes and had the most amazing outlook on life considering the suffering she had experienced.”

The statement continued: “When they arrived at our home – Amber aged three and Connor aged five – Connor stated, ‘We are safe now’.

“They were until he took her safety away.”

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