Former Hearts star in court to see father jailed for murder

Glasgow High Court
Glasgow High Court

Ex-Hearts footballer Ryan McGowan was in court to see his father jailed for life for the murder of his former brother-in-law.

James McGowan has been locked up for a minimum 18 years after he fatally stabbed Owen Brannigan in 1999.

He stabbed Mr Brannigan a total of 11 times.

A jury heard how there had been bad blood between McGowan’s family and the 47-year-old victim.

The attack in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, occurred after McGowan returned from Australia for his mother’s funeral.

He then fled justice, but helped get himself caught in 2012 when he told helpline counsellors that he had killed a man.

The 58-year-old was jailed at the High Court in Glasgow having earlier been convicted of murder. Lady Scott said he was guilty of a “brutal and cowardly” attack. The judge went on: “You took it upon yourself on a brief return for your mother’s funeral to seek out Mr Brannigan and murder him in a pre-meditated act of revenge.”