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Carstairs Killer: Pop tribute to victim Carolyn Ellis

Julie Flowers wrote the poignant track after her friend Carolyn Ellis was killed. Picture: Toby Williams/ TSPL

Julie Flowers wrote the poignant track after her friend Carolyn Ellis was killed. Picture: Toby Williams/ TSPL

  • by ALAN McEWEN
 

THE devastated best friend of a student who died at the hands of Carstairs killer Douglas Lawrence was moved to pen a heartbreaking song about her pal, which has been recorded by a pop band.

Julie Flowers, 29, hopes the touching track will provide a fitting tribute to tragic Carolyn Ellis, who was slain by ex-boyfriend Lawrence, 29, in front of horrified witnesses.

The song – Ten Minutes More, in reference to the amount of time she wishes she had with her chum to tell her how much she loves her – has been recorded by popular Portobello-based band Jen and the Gents and will be released on iTunes on Monday.

Ms Flowers, who is still “absolutely devastated” by the 32-year-old’s death, said the track has moved everyone who listens to it to tears, including Carolyn’s grieving mum, Judy Sweeney.

“I sent the song to Carolyn’s mum on Facebook,” said Ms Flowers. “She listened to it three times in a row and cried. Hopefully it’s something else that she can remember Carolyn by.”

Lawrence was sent to the State Hospital, Carstairs, for killing Carolyn after being sentenced on Wednesday.

He punched her repeatedly and throttled her with a belt before stabbing her 45 times in front of police officers, who were forced to witness the attack from the other side of a Perspex door. One of the blows was so fierce the knife tip sheared off and embedded itself in Carolyn’s head. Before the attack, he had warned doctors he had violent thoughts about Carolyn – his only girlfriend.

Ms Flowers had planned to meet up with Carolyn the day before her brutal death on January 17, 2012 – and now rues the fact she left her bright pal to get on with an essay.

She said: “I so regret that now.”

Police traced Ms Flowers to her Bruntsfield home after finding an undelivered note addressed to her in Carolyn’s flat. The note the officers handed over had been penned by Carolyn to wish Julie “good luck” with a new fashion label business she was launching.

She added: “When the police told me, I was absolutely devastated. They had used the address on the unsent card to trace me and deliver the news she had been killed.”

The card urged her friend to be “fearless”, a mantra she now intends to live her life by.

“She was a beacon of hope for me,” said Ms Flowers, who temporarily slipped into despair after her friend’s death. She only found the courage to carry on after striking up a friendship with Carolyn’s mum.

She said: “I took a big bouquet of her favourite flowers to where she lived. Her mum contacted me when she saw the flowers and we spoke on the phone. She spoke about how she still keeps expecting to get a call from Carolyn.

“Carolyn had always supported me in setting up the fashion label but when she died I lost all passion for it. It was only when her mum sent me a lovely card that my confidence grew again and I also wrote the song for Carolyn as a tribute.”

She found the songwriting process a cathartic one – the line “sometimes I pretend that you’re still here, instead of floating up in the atmosphere” is one of the most heart-wrenching.

The pair met while they were both patients at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital around four years ago.

“When we first met, I was quite shy but we got chatting and clicked right away,” said Ms Flowers.

“We’d been through illness but we found things we both shared which brought us really close. She was such an extremely positive person.”

The song, which will also see a video released on YouTube on Monday, has been recorded by Jen and the Gents.

Singer Jen Ewan, 27, said: “Julie was looking for someone to work with on the song. She was a friend of my friend and that put us together. I was really moved by the lyrics. I’d been aware that Carolyn had died but I hadn’t known how it happened.

“I thought the song was really lovely so we decided to record it. I’m touched that Carolyn’s mum liked the song.”

At the High Court in Edinburgh, Lawrence was told there was no minimum restriction to the length of time he will spend in Carstairs and is subject to lifetime restriction conditions.

He was accused of murder but his guilty plea to a reduced charge of culpable homicide was accepted.

Ten Minutes More - the lyrics

SOMETIMES I pretend that you’re still here,

instead of floating up in the atmosphere, in the atmosphere.

My heart tells me you’re sparkling like a star,

You are gone but you are not gone too far, you’re not too far.

Our friendship grew like a rocket into space,

Meeting you could be no mistake.

We both had voices in our heads and scars that told a story, scars that told a story.

Ladybird wings and colourful things,

You made my world sing, you made my world sing, sing, sing.

Everyone has their own fairy tale,

Everyone has their time they must set sail, they must set sail.

Memories feel like an illusion,

We all live by our own delusions, our delusions.

I’ll always remember the way you laughed,

The way you smiled when life it got too bad, it got too bad.

Lady bird wings and colourful things,

You made my world sing, you made my world sing, sing, sing.

 

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