Corstorphine Hill killer to stay in State Hospital

James Dunleavy. Picture: Police Scotland

James Dunleavy. Picture: Police Scotland

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A SON who beheaded his mother and buried her dismembered body in a shallow grave must stay in hospital, a has judge ordered.

Psychiatrists at The State Hospital, Carstairs, are still trying to assess James Dunleavy’s mental condition.

An earlier trial heard harrowing evidence suggesting that Philomena Dunleavy, 66, may still have been alive, but unconscious, when her son began to hack off her legs with knife and saw.

But the horror of her final moments at the hands of her deranged James Dunleavy, 40, will probably never be known.

Mother-of-five Mrs Dunleavy, small, slightly built and shy had left her Dublin home in early April last year and arrived in Scotland on April 24 to visit her eldest son James - also known as Seamus.

Days later she was dead - butchered in labourer James Dunleavy’s flat in Balgreen Road, Edinburgh.

It was more than a month before Mrs Dunleavy’s remains were unearthed, just a few minutes walk away. A large suitcase was missing from the flat and a spade with a broken shaft was found in the back green.

Dunleavy, 40, denied murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by burying her to try to cover up the crime.

A jury at the High Court in Edinburgh convicted him, by majority, of a reduced charge of culpable homicide. They also found him guilty of the attempted cover-up.

Lord Jones told Dunleavy then: “You require to be detained under conditions of such security as can be provided in the State Hospital.”

Today the judge continued his interim order for the doctors to continue their work.

Defence QC Gordon Jackson told the court that Dunleavy wanted the matter dealt with, but given what the doctors had said so far, that was “unrealistic.”

No witnesses saw Mrs Dunleavy’s final journey in a suitcase. No witnesses saw the undignified shallow grave being dug - a back breaking task in the hard soil of Corstorphine Hill.

There Mrs Dunleavy remained until ski instructor Aaron McLean-Foreman, 24, stopped to sunbathe while pushing his bike along a narrow path on a warm June afternoon.

He was confronted by the decomposed face of Mrs Dunleavy staring up from the dirt, his gaze drawn by her gleaming teeth.

The following day, June 7, archeologist Dr Jennifer Miller, other forensic and medical experts began the painstaking work of unearthing the near-naked torso, severed head and legs.

Police launched Operation Sandpiper, appealing for help to identify the body. Mrs Dunleavy’s claddagh ring took the search to Ireland.

CT scans of Mrs Dunleavy’s skull, combined with computer technology, enabled Dundee University’s craniofacial expert Dr Caroline Wilkinson to produce a likeness of the dead woman.

Police heard about a shouting match between Dunleavy and his mother about her supposed affair with another man.

She was said to have walked out on retired painter James Dunleavy, 68 - although he insisted they were still man and wife.

Shop-keeper Mohammed Razaq, 40, known as Tariq, witnessed the argument. He also told the trial that Dunleavy - who had been showing a keen interest in Islam - had described “hearing voices” and told his friend: “I might be evil.”

Two months after his arrest Dunleavy’s legal team arranged for his transfer from prison to the State Hospital, Carstairs.

Dunleavy is due back in court in June when the case is expected to call at the High Court in Perth.