Jailed murderer: ‘I’m like captive killer whale’

Ian Sutherland hacked a man into five pieces. Picture: Ciaran Donnelly
Ian Sutherland hacked a man into five pieces. Picture: Ciaran Donnelly
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A MURDERER who cut his victim into five pieces and dumped the remains in wheelie bins has compared his life in jail to that of notorious killer whale Tilikum.

Ian Sutherland was jailed for life in 2004 after begin found guilty of strangling a history teacher and then using a hacksaw to chop his body up.

Sutherland, now 43, attacked Alan Wilson, a former teacher at James Gillespie’s High School, in February 2004.

Sutherland and Wilson had met while serving time at Saughton Prison, where both men were behind bars for sex offences.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard in 2004 how Sutherland and Wilson became close in prison and remained friends after they were released.

After a drinking session in February 2004, however, Sutherland attacked 51-year-old Wilson, who was gay, at a flat in Merchiston.

The court heard how Sutherland got “annoyed” at Wilson’s advances and strangled him before sawing his body up into five pieces, removing his arms, legs and head.

He then disposed of the body parts by putting the arms and legs in wheelie bins and the head in a black bin bag before burying it in a garden.

Sutherland was jailed for life for murder and ordered to serve at least 15 years before being considered for parole.

But in a letter to prisoners’ newspaper Inside Time, Sutherland, an inmate at HMP Glenochil – a 670-capacity prison near Stirling – compared his life inside to a killer whale called Tilikum.

Tilikum, an 12,000lb orca at SeaWorld Orlando in Florida, has killed three people during 30 years of captivity.

Those killed by the mammal include trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010, 20-year-old marine biology student Keltie Byrne in 1991 and “fan” Daniel Dukes in 1999, who was attacked by the orca after he sneaked into SeaWorld when it was closed.

Sutherland said that after watching the documentary on BBC4, called Blackfish, he said he felt he was “in the same boat” as the killer whale.

The documentary asserts that Tilikum’s aggressive behaviour came about because of the years spent in captivity after being seized from the Icelandic ocean in 1983.

Sutherland wrote: “I have just finished watching a TV programme on BBC4 about killer whales being held in captivity.

“A chap who has been studying these magnificent orcas for 30 years informed us ‘If you keep any animal in a concrete block for years on end, getting it to perform tricks for treats, it’s only a matter of time before it all goes bad’.

“Which it did . . . this was owing to long hours of isolation away from its natural habitat. Then it occurred to me that I, too, am held in a concrete block, ten years now, kept away from my natural habitat.

“No proper interaction on an emotional level with my own species. I’m asked to perform tricks for treats by my keepers/trainers in the form of doing unaccredited programmes so that I can move on to a better enclosure, which consists of a section just like the one I’m in, except it will have a few comfy seats and a PlayStation.

“And guards that hate us a little less than the ones we have here.

“My life in prison, or better put, captivity, is not so unlike the orca and if it is inhuman to do such things to animals so surely it must be just as inhuman to do it to humans?

“If you treat people badly then they will behave badly; maybe not today or tomorrow, but at some point down the line.”

One prison source said Sutherland, who denied murder at his trial in 2004 – instead blaming an ex-girlfriend for the killing – still maintains he is innocent.

He said: “Sutherland operates on the pretence that it wasn’t him who killed Mr Wilson – he lives in a fantasy land.

“He lost an appeal against his life sentence in 2005, but he still acts like he is the one who is being punished for something that he didn’t do.”