Rapist who murdered his bride-to-be at her home is jailed for life

Rory O’Connor will serve a minimum of 15 years in jail for killing his partner Diane Nichol at her Hawick home in August 2021.

Rory O’Connor jailed for life for murder of bride-to-be Diane Nichol at her Hawick home STV News
Rory O’Connor was sentenced to life at the High Court of Edinburgh on Thursday.

A man who murdered his wife-to-be at her Edinburgh home has been jailed for life.

Convicted rapist Rory O’Connor battered his partner Diane Nichol to death at her home in Trevelyan Terrace, Hawick, in August 2021.

On Thursday at the High Court in Edinburgh, O’Connor was jailed for a minimum of 15 years and six months.

During the attack in August, O’Connor repeatedly kicked, stamped, and struck the 57-year-old’s head against floor.

The 54-year-old had been heard shouting “You’re useless, you don’t clean, you don’t make my lunch, you better make it tomorrow” at his partner the day before the murder.

Ms Nichol’s body was discovered inside the Hawick property on August 9 when a neighbour called the police after hearing a female whimpering and moaning, following accounts of banging noises.

O’Connor let officers in Ms Nichol was lying on the ground and he had said: “Diane wake up, come on get up.”

Police and paramedics tried to save her life but she died later in the day.

Graham had previously been given a ten-year prison term after being convicted on charges of rape and sexual assault in Dublin in 2002.

Mark Stewart QC, defending, told the court that his client pleaded guilty and wanted to apologise to Diane’s family for what he had done to her.

He said: “As your lordship has heard, the relationship was one characterised by both parties being, I think it is fair to say, heavily reliant on alcohol. 

“In drink, it is true, arguments did happen, and disagreements took place, but they were normally and rapidly dealt with, and parties moved on. 

“He didn’t understand that anything of the magnitude which occurred had indeed occurred and he believed Mi Nichol was perhaps injured but not dead. 

“I think it is fair to say that he was witnessed by police to be shocked by the consequences of what he now accepts he had been responsible for when police told him of the death.”

Passing sentence, Lord Beckett told O’Connor that he considered that the crime committed was against his partner and the only sentence available was life imprisonment.

He said: “Mr O’Connor, you have pleaded guilty to murdering your partner, Diane Nichol. “For murder, the sentence is fixed by law – you will be sentenced to life imprisonment. 

“I must also take account of the fact that the crime was aggravated by the fact that it was committed against your partner. 

“She trusted you and was entitled to expect your protection and support. 

“But instead, you inflicted sustained, brutal violence causing appalling injuries which inevitably proved fatal 

“I take account of those considerations in selecting the punishment part. 

“As a result of your actions, Diane Nichol lost her life at 57 and her family have been left devastated and will never be the same again. 

“I have read moving statements from her mother, her sister and her daughter explaining the impact of their loss and the grief upon them and the wider family. 

“There have been profound consequences for their health and wellbeing. 

“The court must do what it can to deter such savage domestic violence of the kind you inflicted on your partner. 

“Having regard to the whole circumstances, but for your plea of guilty the punishment part for the charge of murder would have been 18 years. 

“As it is the punishment part is 15 years and six months.”