Man attacked former partner with hammer and set fire to caravan

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A JEALOUS man brutally attacked his long-term partner with a hammer in a murder bid, forcing her to escape from a window.

Charles “Chuck” Strachan then started a fire at the caravan the couple shared and assaulted a police officer as he tried to get him out of the burning accommodation.

Strachan, 62, later told officers that following the attack on Yvonne Edwards he “presumed she was dead” and added: “I realised what I’d done. I was going to burn me and the caravan down.”

Miss Edwards, Strachan’s partner for 30 years, was later found to have suffered a skull fracture and several head wounds.

Strachan admitted attempting to murder her at Mosshall caravan park, at Blackburn, in West Lothian, on October 29 last year by repeatedly striking her on the head with a hammer.

Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC said that Strachan was still drunk from the night before when he launched an unprovoked attack on the woman who was lying defenceless in bed.

“He struck her repeatedly on the head with a hammer, forcing her to escape from the caravan by falling out of a window as the accused set a fire inside,” said the prosecutor.

Part of the incident was captured on CCTV as neighbours went to help the stricken victim and footage was shown to a judge at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Strachan had been drinking whisky and his victim heard him shout: “F--- you and going out every day of the week.” She understood this was a reference to her giving regular lifts to a neighbour.

She saw Strachan take a hammer from a drawer where he kept tools before feeling “really hard” blows.

Mr Prentice said: “She put her left hand up to try and protect herself but could feel blood pouring down her face and neck.”

She tried to open a window to get away from the attacker but continued to be struck as she tried to escape before falling out of the caravan.

She crawled away from it on her hands and knees and neighbours who heard screaming went to the aid of the badly injured woman.

Mr Prentice said: “The accused then poured accelerant on a mattress and set fire to the mattress and bedding.”

When police arrived they were told Strachan was still in the caravan. Strachan said during a later interview: “I can barely remember. I don’t know what started it. I do remember hitting her.”

Lord Boyd of Duncansby deferred sentence on Strachan for the preparation of a background report and remanded him in custody.