Man beaten to death by carer

Police attend the flat in Roseburn Terrace. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Police attend the flat in Roseburn Terrace. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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A carer who was taken into his frail friend’s home and treated like family repaid his kindness by beating him to death.

Andrew Harvey repeatedly punched Christopher Gilruth who fell and struck his head at their home in Roseburn Terrace.

Andrew Harvey admitted culpable homicide. Picture: Police Scotland/Lisa Ferguson

Andrew Harvey admitted culpable homicide. Picture: Police Scotland/Lisa Ferguson

He launched the sustained attack shortly after telling a neighbour that he “felt like whacking him”.

Earlier that morning, armed police had responded to a call from neighbours who heard shouting coming from the flat during an argument.

Police left the scene after finding Mr Gilruth, 53, uninjured and telling his paid carer Harvey to calm down.

Officers logged a report raising concerns about Harvey’s ability to look after Mr Gilruth.

But later that day, officers were called to the flat for a second time – to find Mr Gilruth lying dead on the bathroom floor with facial injuries.

At the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday, Harvey admitted the culpable homicide of Mr Gilruth on May 11 last year.

The court heard that the pair had referred to each other as “uncle” and “nephew” but were not related.

After the incident, Harvey said his uncle “had not been the same” since the visit from armed police that morning.

Mr Gilruth, who suffered serious health issues including emphysema, was found with 33 injuries, mostly bruises and abrasions and some cuts. He also had extensive rib fractures, which may have been caused during attempts at resuscitation.

The prosecutor said that Mr Gilruth’s poor health made him “far more likely to succumb to injuries that would not prove fatal in a healthy adult male”. Mr Keegan said: “The accused accepts that he assaulted the deceased. The Crown accepts it was not a murderous assault.”

Following the morning row Mr Gilruth had taken the bus into Edinburgh city centre. Later, Harvey spoke to neighbours to ask if they knew where Mr Gilruth was, saying he “felt like whacking him”.

Harvey was seen returning to the flat and heard saying he was going to kick the door in.

A witness raised the alarm after hearing shouting in the block, and when officers arrived at the flat, they heard a man calling 999 for an ambulance.

Harvey opened the door to them and they followed him to a bathroom where Mr Gilruth was lying. He told police that he had kicked the door in and later found him on the floor. Harvey, who was distressed and hysterical, said he had tried giving mouth to mouth resuscitation.

A major police investigation was launched after the incident, and Harvey was arrested and charged eight months later.

Judge Lady Wolffe adjourned the case for sentence and ordered that Harvey should be detained in custody.

Detective Inspector Raymond Brown, from the police Major Investigation Team, said Mr Gilruth was a vulnerable individual who had treated Harvey “like a member of his family”.

He said: “Despite this, Harvey betrayed Mr Gilruth’s trust and goodwill by subjecting him to a significant level of violence that ultimately led to his death.

“I hope that Christopher Gilruth’s family can find some comfort in today’s guilty plea, for which we now await sentencing by the court.”