Woman convicted of killing Blantyre mother

Killed: Gail Russell.
Killed: Gail Russell.

A woman has been convicted of killing a mother-of-four by stabbing her to death just yards from her home. 

At the High Court in Glasgow on Thursday, 25-year-old Charlene Wilson was found guilty of the culpable homicide of Gail Russell.  A jury cleared her of murdering 26-year-old Ms Russell, at Small Crescent, Blantyre, on June 12 last year. 

The court heard that Wilson armed herself with a knife before heading with co-accused Thomas Gibson and Aaron Black to the home Gail shared with her boyfriend Andy Carruthers. 

The trio went to confront Mr Carruthers, but it was Ms Russell who ended up dying in the street after Wilson stabbed her through the chest. Stunned neighbours told how they saw Wilson pull a knife from her waistband and then plunge it into Ms Russell, who was unarmed. 

Ms Russell managed to chase after Wilson for a few yards before collapsing in the street. A pathologist said that the stab wound was only a centimetre away from Ms Russell's heart. It sliced though a blood vessel and she bled to death.

Lashed out

In evidence, Wilson said she lashed out with a knife because she thought she was going to be attacked, and claimed she never meant to stab Ms Russell.

Wilson said Ms Russell was a friend of hers, although they were not speaking at the time. She told the jury that Gibson and Black wanted to confront Ms Russell's boyfriend, Mr Carruthers, because of a row with him and she went along because she "wanted to show off".

Wilson said that they went to the door of Ms Russell's house and the door was opened and then slammed shut. She said: "I thought that was it. I was a I bit annoyed so I threw a toy pram." 

Wilson said that seconds later Ms Russell, her boyfriend Mr Carruthers and his sister Gillian Carruthers came running from the side of the house. 

She added: "Andy Carruthers had a knife, Gillian Carruthers flung a bottle at me which smashed against a lamp post. Gail Russell had a bottle which she flung and she was making gestures at her back as if she'd got a weapon.

Terrified

"I was terrified, so I pulled out my knife and swung it towards her. I never meant to hurt her she was my pal. I just meant to keep her away from me." 

Giving evidence Mr Carruthers denied that he had any weapon that night. Advocate depute John Scullion, defending, said that Wilson had five previous convictions at summary level and has never served a custodial sentence. 

Judge Lord Brailsford deferred sentence on Wilson until next month and ordered a background report and a psychological report on her. 

Co-accused Gibson, 29, from Blantyre, and Black, 22, from Motherwell, who admitted a breach of the peace in Small Crescent by brandishing a knife and a sword, will be sentenced at the same time as Wilson.