Murder accused told police: “It is all my fault”


By Paul Thornton

A TEENAGER admitted soaking his girlfriend in petrol from a jerry can before she burned to death because he was “in a huff”, a court has heard.

Stewart Blackburn, 18, confessed to “slapping” the five-litre can at Jessica McCagh during a police interview the day after she died from her horrific burns.

Blackburn said he had soaked her in fuel during an argument because it was “the easiest thing” to throw at her.

In an interview video played to jurors at his murder trial today (Tuesday) Blackburn claimed that following the argument he lit a joint which in turn lit the fire at his Arbroath flat on April 25 this year.

Despite being pulled from the blaze by neighbours and family, Jessica suffered up to 90 per-cent burns and died later that day at Ninewells Hospital.

Blackburn was interviewed three times by police over the following days and in the third session of quizzing, he changes his version of events.

He said: “I’ll tell you the truth. I’m going to jail for this anyway. I’m just going to tell you the truth.

“I threw the jerry can at her. When we first came in the house. As she went to bed I threw the jerry can at her – there’s the truth. I did.”

Blackburn said that after an argument with Jessica, he “slapped” the green plastic petrol container at her, covering her in the flammable liquid.

He said: “Because when I went in the living room I just left with it and was trying speak to her nicely.

“I know I’m going to get done for this anyway.

“I came in and my jerry can and the fuel were sitting on the bed. Jessica jamp on the bed. The petrol can did fall over.

“Some petrol did come out, I will admit that.

“I went in. More moaning. I went like that, slapping the jerry can at her just to annoy her. I didn’t want this to happen.

“It went all over her.”

Blackburn said that following the incident that left Jessica covered in petrol he left her for a short while before coming back to make up.

He said: “I went in five, 10 minutes later speaking to her calmly. She was speaking to me calmly back.

“I was like ‘Jessica do you not want to get to the bathroom’ and like wash herself down.”

Blackburn claimed that following the reconciliation he started to light a joint that he had earlier rolled – he claimed it was hot debris from this which lit the fatal fire.

He said: “She sat up and that’s when I lit the thing and she just went pfff. It was not actually her that went up first it was the bed.

“The joint, the bombers (small pieces of hot cannabis resin that fell from the joint) that’s what happened.

“I didn’t think it would happen.”

Blackburn insisted that he did not want to kill Jessica but said he was “in a huff” with her.

He said: “I realise that I’m going to get caught so I’m telling you now. (I) just want it to end.

“I was in a huff. Slapped the jerry can at her because it was only thing that was there and she was annoying me shouting at me and it was easiest thing to throw at her, slap at her.

“It went all over her.

“I didn’t want to kill her anyway.

“I love her so much I can’t believe this has happened. It is all my fault.”

But Blackburn soon begins lamenting the possibility of being jailed over her death.

He said: “If I go to jail I can’t even go to her funeral or anything. That’s my life gone in jail. That’s me gone for the rest of my life.”

Less than an hour later Blackburn with charged with Jessica’s murder.

It is alleged Blackburn threw petrol over Jessica and her bed before setting fire to her, causing the injuries that killed her.

Blackburn also faces an assault charge against Jessica as well as claims he pointed an air-rifle at two men and repeatedly pulled the trigger.

Blackburn denies murder at the High Court in Livingston. The trial before Judge Lord Bracadale continues.

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