Son in court over Corstorphine Hill mum murder

Dismembered body found at beauty spot.Picture:  Ian Rutherford
Dismembered body found at beauty spot.Picture: Ian Rutherford
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A MAN accused of battering his mother to death then burying her dismembered body at an Edinburgh beauty spot made his first appearance in open court today.

A major police inquiry began in May this year when the remains of Philomena Dunleavy, 66, of Marino, Dublin, were unearthed on Corstorphine Hill.

Son James Dunleavy, 39, also known as Seamus Dunleavy, now faces charges of murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by trying to cover up the death.

Dunleavy, who had been living in Edinburgh’s Balgreen Road is now being held in The State Hospital, Carstairs.

He made a brief appearance at the High Court in Edinburgh today before Judge Lord Uist to plead not guilty to the charges against him.

A trial, which is expected to last 20 days is due to start in early January.

The murder charge alleges that between April 30 and May 7 Dunleavy attacked his mum at his then home, inflicting “blunt force trauma injuries” as well as compressing her throat and severing her legs with a blade and a saw.

A second charge accuses Dunleavy of pretending to neighbours that his mother had been unwell and had returned to the Republic of Ireland.

The charge goes on to allege that Dunleavy dismembered his mother’s corpse and put the body parts in a suitcase which he then took to a secluded clearing on Corstorphine Hill and buried them.

Today, defence QC Gordon Jackson told the court: “There are two issues in this case. One is whether or not Dunleavy committed the offences - which he denies. The second is related to his mental and medical condition.”