The Nightmare began on Halloween 2003 when Brendan Dixon was charged with the crime of murdering a frail 91-year-old Margaret Irvine in Galston, a small village about 6 miles from Kilmarnock in Central Ayrshire, Scotland.
The victim was found by her carer at 4.50pm. she had been gagged and had her hands tied behind her back with a belt. The cause of death was asphyxia due to her choking on the duster that had been placed in her mouth. Mrs Irvine was last seen alive at 7.00am that day by the carer who came in to make her breakfast. She instructed the carer to leave the door unlocked to enable others to gain entry. Mrs Irvine was described as been mentally alert although she was housebound.
It feels like yesterday to us who had CID officers swarming the house every day for weeks when he was charged. we put our faith in the Scottish justice system believing that things would work out, even being told by lawyers that the case would probably never see a trial.
On Tuesday 1st March 2005, at Kilmarnock High Court, Brendan and another man, Patrick Docherty, were both found guilty of the murder of Margaret Irvine. Both men were given life sentences. Colin Miller, the third accused man and original suspect in the case, received a verdict of “Not Proven.”
There was no physical evidence in this case. It was based on 3rd party hearsay and circumstantial evidence. Police recovered DNA and Footprints from the murder scene which did not belong to any of the accused. A number of key witnesses, who are no strangers to police, had themselves been questioned about the murder. Several of these witnesses where proven in court to have lied and several supporting documents proved this.
It is important that ALL the evidence must be heard, not just for the sake of Brendan, but also for the sake of Mrs Margaret Irvine, who most certainly did not deserve to be killed. Family, campaigners and supporters remain convinced that Brendan and another man, Patrick were given life sentences for a crime they did not commit.
The original suspect in the murder of Margaret Irvine was a man by the name of Colin Miller, who met Brendan in HMP Kilmarnock. Both men were serving time for petty offences.
Colin Miller was attacked by other inmates whilst in prison due to his then alledged part in the murder. Brendan had tried to offer reassurance to him by telling him that the police were also putting him and Patrick Docherty forward as suspects as well as a number of known criminals.
As soon as he was released from prison Colin Miller went to the police and made a third statement, only this time he stated he had seen Brendan and Patrick, in Catherine Drive. He changes this to a fourth statement placing them outside Mrs Irvine's house on the day of the murder.
Miller subsequently became the chief witness, that is until almost a year later. Miller was the only witness that claimed to have seen Brendan and Patrick near the scene on the morning of the murder. It was proven in court that Colin Miller could not have seen Brendan or Patrick from the location mentioned in his statement. Indeed, Miller was the only person spotted near the scene that morning.
Mrs Paton, a neighbour of Mrs Irvine, stated in court that she was up early on that Sunday morning of 28th September 2003. She recalled looking out of her window and seeing Colin Miller three times, at 6.00am, 6.40am and again at 7.00am. However witnesses for Miller stated in court that he spent the Saturday night at their house. They stated he did not leave their house until 7.50am on the morning of the murder.
It was suggested that later in the morning Miller was at another friend’s house, and after receiving a text message at approximately 10am he had gone outside to make a phone call. Shortly after he returned to the house, it was alleged he was in a rage and hit a friend about the face and head with a hammer.
Another neighbour, Mrs Mc Cartney, stated in court that around 10am she heard a male voice shouting are you there? She looked out of her window and saw a male with his back to her standing in Margaret Irvine’s kitchen. She also stated that she noticed a male stranger passing by her house early on the morning of the murder.
Both Brendan and Patrick had separate alibis confirming that they were nowhere near the Galston vicinity on the morning Mrs Irvine was murdered
No justice has been done for Mrs Irvine and her family. Galston is a small community; and the murderer must be known to someone in the area.
Family, campaigners and supporters insist that justice has not been served and that two innocent men are languishing in prison for a crime they did not commit.
Over the past four years the amount of information that has come out about the case has been hard to take for Brendan and his family. They ask: “how could the police have not checked out this stuff in the beginning, if they did Brendan would not be in prison and killers would be taken off the streets.”
Brendan has kept fighting for justice as have the family, with the support from great people who believe that justice must be seen to be done and the use of Scapegoats must be stopped in gaining false convictions.
A spokesperson for Brendan and his family said: “Brendan and the family would like to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts especially John MacManus (MOJO SCOTLAND) who has worked tirelessly for Brendan on the paperwork and investigation of the case. Also all that have highlighted this Miscarriage of justice.”
"I hear much of people calling to punish the guilty, but few are concerned to clear the innocent" Daniel Defoe 1661-1731
Justice 4 Brendan Dixon was formally Free The Killie 2 campaign