‘I should have saved them’ – child witness tells double murder trial

The girl said she was in the house when Andrew Innes, 52, killed Bennylyn Burke, 25, and her two-year-old daughter Jellica.

Young witness tells murder trial she should have ‘saved’ Bennylyn Burke and daughter Jellica Police Scotland

A girl at the house where a woman and a toddler were killed told police she “should have saved them” but could not because she did not know what was happening.

Andrew Innes, 52, is accused of murdering Bennylyn Burke, 25, and her daughter, Jellica, two, at a house in Dundee between February 20 and March 5, 2021.

Innes has admitted killing the pair but denies murdering them and has lodged a special defence of diminished responsibility.

On Tuesday, the High Court in Edinburgh heard an interview with a girl in the house at the time of alleged murders, who told officers: “I should have saved them but I couldn’t because I didn’t know what was happening.”

Police outside Innes’ home in Troon Avenue in Dundee.STV News

In the interview, the girl said a game of hide-and-seek had started, and when asked about two-year-old Jellica’s death, she said: “I don’t know where, I just know looking in the bathroom and he shut the door on me.

“Andrew shut the door at me so it must be in the bathroom.”

Innes is also accused of raping the girl and of sexually abusing Jellica.

The girl told the court that after she was sexually assaulted she would be paid, and referred to “jobs” during the interview played to the jury.

“The first job Jellica was there, Jellica was with me, then the rest of the jobs Jellica was dead,” she said.

The interviewer was told they both were given £2.10 after that incident.

The girl recalled the alleged crimes against her, and said Innes used handcuffs and put tape and a sock on her face.

“It felt terrible,” she said.

Barry Mitchell, a forensic scientist, told the jury that tests on items in the property had revealed traces of DNA belonging to Innes on Jellica.

Mr Mitchell also told the court that traces of DNA belonging to Innes and the toddler were found on a condom found in a bin within the detached property.

The jury heard evidence that DNA from the girl he is accused of assaulting – not Jellica – was found on what was described in the court as “black furry handcuffs”, and traces of saliva on a sock.

And Mr Mitchell said that Ms Burke’s DNA was found on a 1.5kg lump hammer found in the property.

A post-mortem examination revealed that Ms Burke, who weighed 5st 7lb, suffered a single stab wound to her chest, as well as head injuries, with pathologists having said the combined effects of internal bleeding and the injuries to her head caused her death.

Jellica was asphyxiated by means unknown, the court was told, with a post-mortem examination revealing that there had been pressure on the girl’s mouth and neck.

The court was told Innes wrapped a rubble bag, blanket and tarpaulin around the head of Ms Burke and hid her beneath the kitchen floor.

He also put the body of the two-year-old under the floor, the jury was told.

Innes denies all charges against him and the trial, before Lord Beckett, continues.

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