Couple jailed for causing death of Colin Skillbeck in Edinburgh

Published 18 January 2018

A couple responsible for the murder of Colin Skillbeck in Edinburgh last year have been jailed.

Kathleen DowneyAt the High Court in Glasgow on Thursday 18th January, Rene Howieson was sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum term of 14-years, while Kathleen Downey was given a sentence of five-years and three months for the attack on the 41-year-old to death at an address in Gibson Terrace on 12th March 2017.

Mr Skillbeck was stabbed to death and had sugar water on him during the attack, which followed a disagreement over noise at the flat.

Neighbours reported the disturbance to police and emergency services attended, where Colin was found in a critical condition. He was subsequently pronounced dead at the scene.

An investigation by Edinburgh's Major Investigation Team was carried out and both Howieson and Downey were subsequently detained and charged.

While Howieson pleaded guilty to murder on 19th July 2017, Downey pled guilty to culpable homicide on 4th December.

Detective Inspector Susan Balfour from the Major Investigations Team said: "This was a particularly vicious and callous attack, which left Colin with horrific injuries that he could not recover from.

"The only saving grace for Colin's loved ones is that Howieson and Downey pled guilty to their crimes, sparing the family the ordeal of a prolonged trial.

"Both will now spend a significant number of years in prison and I sincerely hope this provides those who cared for Colin with some form of closure, as they look to move on with their lives.

"Tackling crimes of violence remains one of our top priorities and the sentences handed to Howieson and Downey reflect the joint commitment of Police Scotland and COPFS in removing violent offenders from our communities."


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