Vengeful boyfriend tried to set murder victim’s killer on fire
THE DEVASTATED boyfriend of a murder victim broke down in tears today after he admitting to dousing her killer with petrol and trying to set him on fire.
Robert Chalmers was attacked by Samantha Wright’s boyfriend after he was sentenced for her murder at the High Court inEdinburgh.
NHS worker Allister Gibb threw petrol from a 500ml bottle of juice over Chalmers as he was being led away from court by Reliance security officers.
But he now faces jail for endangering the killer’s life.
Gibb, 33, admitted attacking Chalmers in the city’s St Giles Street on May 12 when he appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
He lunged at the killer in a bid to set his clothing alight, it was heard at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
Reliance officers Alan Simpson and Kevin McDonagh were also soaked in petrol as a result of the attack.
Gibb admitted endangering their lives as well.
Fiscal depute Ian Wallace told the court the Reliance officers were escorting Chalmers to a security van when Gibb pounced.
The fiscal added: “He was being led from the cells complex to the Reliance van, which was parked at the rear of the High Court.
“Gibb, who was in the vicinity and had a 500ml bottle of juice, which he had filled up with petrol. As Mr Chalmers was being led to the van by the reliance officer Gibb threw petrol over him from the bottle.
“It landed on his clothing, mainly on his shoulder, his arm and his leg.”
The petrol also landed on the Reliance officers said Mr Wallace. Mr Simpson was left with petrol between his left shoulder and his neck and petrol landed on Mr McDonagh’s trousers. Gibb then managed to squeeze past Mr McDonagh.
“Using a cigarette lighter he tried to set fire to Mr Chalmers’ clothing,” said the fiscal. “He was unsuccessful and was pushed out of the van.”
He then threw the bottle away and then left the scene, said Mr Wallace. He was later arrested by police and was fully cooperative with them, said the fiscal.
When he was arrested he said: “I didn’t mean to injure anyone else, except Robert Chalmers,” the fiscal added.
Mr Wallace said Gibb apologised to the Reliance officers for what happened. Neither Chalmers nor the Reliance officers were injured in the attack and were simply able to wash off the petrol, the fiscal said.
Defence agent David Storey said his employers at the NHS knew about his intention to plead guilty, but that he would keep his job.
The lawyer said there was no suggestion that he would fail to cooperate with the authorities or “obstruct the course of justice and interfere with any other witnesses”.
“It’s a very sensitive issue. He’s very upset having lost his girlfriend at the hands of Mr Chalmers. He accepts it is a very serious thing to do, not just endangering the Reliance officers, but Mr Chalmers.”
Mr Storey said a custodial sentence was “perhaps not inevitable”.
Sheriff Stephen Arthurson said he would release Gibb, who had previous convictions, on bail “without prejudice to any sentence while reports were compiled”.
Sentence was deferred until next month.
Gibb was visibly shaken and in tears as he left the dock and was guided to the courts social work offices by his solicitor.
Chalmers was out on licence for a murder he committed in 1974 when he met Samantha Wright in Edinburgh city centre.
Chalmers, 59, managed to lure Samantha to his home in the Duddingston area of the city. It was the last time the 24-year-old was seen alive.
After killing Samantha in June 2008, he partially dismembered her body and then dumped the remains in a wheelie bin the garden of his home.
The woman, originally from Stevenage, Herts, had not been in contact with her family for some time but when she did not get in touch over Christmas 2008 they decided to contact the police.
Detectives quickly established that Samantha had made her last cash withdrawal from a machine in St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, six months earlier.
Increasingly concerned that she had come to harm, police decided to check city council CCTV footage of the area.
They were originally told the footage had been deleted because the policy was to keep it for just 30 days.
But, in a remarkable stroke of luck, it turned out the film had already been taken by police as part of a separate investigation and retained.
Analysis of the pictures showed images of Samantha standing with a man who was later identified as Chalmers.
A search of his property revealed the wheelie bin which had been concealed in shrubbery in his back garden.
Samantha had fallen in love withEdinburghwhile on a holiday with her father and decided to stay behind, getting herself a flat in the Stenhouse area of the city.
She was described by witnesses as “bubbly” and a “social butterfly”, someone who was comfortable in the company of strangers, particularly if they bought her drinks.
Her parents, Catherine Gibson and Jeremy Wright, both 48, saw Chalmers being convicted of their daughter’s murder at the High Court inEdinburghthis June.
Ms Gibson said afterwards: “This has been the worst three years of our lives, and no-one should be made to go through something so tragic.
“I would like to say to parents who, like us, lost contact with their loved one to contact the police as soon as possible, as it is better to be safe than sorry.
“Samantha was such a beautiful, lively young woman, who had everything to live for and so much more to give, but Robert Chalmers cut her life short. She will always be loved by many and never forgotten by those who knew her. We are just glad justice is going to be served, and she can rest in peace.”
Chalmers, who received life imprisonment, was freed on licence after nine years of a life term for stabbing a man in a drunken fight in Johnstone, Renfrewshire.
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