The Scotsman

Sat 28 Sep 2002

Mother bludgeons her children

Dan Mcdougall Crime Correspondent
The Scotsman

A policeman guards the Stonehouse home where the murders took place.

A MOTHER was expected to be referred to a psychiatric hospital last night, after her two young daughters were bludgeoned with a hammer during an attack in their family home.

Ann Gilmour, 35, a single mother from Stonehouse near Hamilton, remained under police supervision at Wishaw General Hospital after her daughter Erin, six, was found dead with her older sister Louise, ten, lying by her side seriously injured.

Louise continued to fight for her life with serious head injuries in Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital.

A police source said that charges were unlikely to be brought in the next few days and the mother was likely to be sectioned into psychiatric care.

He said: "A section order is most likely to be requested over the next 24 hours and no charges are therefore likely to be brought until a psychiatric assessment is carried out. At the moment, we are praying the surviving girl pulls through."

It is understood the alarm was raised at the family home in Union Street, Stonehouse, at about 6pm on Thursday after Ms Gilmour’s sister, Carol, became worried when she could not contact the family.

After calling at her sister’s home, she found the curtains drawn and entered the house to discover Erin’s body in the living room with her sister close by.

Ms Gilmour was lying in her upstairs bedroom and is believed to have taken an overdose.

Detective Chief Inspector Henry Harper, who is leading the investigation, said his officers were not looking for anyone else. He added: "We were called to the house by the victims’ aunt who discovered the girls. We believe the attack could have happened anytime between 11:30pm on Wednesday and 5:30pm on Thursday.

This is a tragic set of circumstances and it’s going to affect an entire family," he said. "It involves two sets of grandparents as well as a father, mother and sister."

It is believed the girls’ father, Kenneth, 32, who is separated from their mother, was at his daughter’s bedside last night.

Alice Craig, a neighbour, said the children were never in trouble and always attended school. She said: "They were a very quiet family - you’d see the girls playing outside but Ann was hardly ever around.

"They always seemed well turned out and seemed to love school, they would often go skipping past my window. For such a small community, this is a terrible thing to bear."

Another neighbour pointed out: "The mother was a bit isolated down there at the end of the close. She hadn’t been there long and she inherited a garden which was in a terrible state.

Erin’s death was the second incident to hit the village of Stonehouse this month, after another six-year-old, Katelyn Preston, was killed when she was struck by a car as she was crossing a busy street.

Fellow pupils of the girls at Stonehouse Primary School will now have to be told that another classmate has been killed, when they return to classes after the September weekend holiday on Tuesday.

At the family’s home, school friends of Erin and Louise gathered to pay respects and leave flowers and teddy bears.

One message to Erin described her as the "bestest friend ever".