Hannah's Story

Published 30 November 2018

Frazer Neil, now aged 25, was on 29th November 2018 sentenced to a minimum of 19 years in jail at Edinburgh High Court for the murder of Hannah Dorans in Edinburgh.

He will also remain on licence for the rest of his life.

Hannah DoransNeil was found guilty at Glasgow High Court on 1st November 2018 of the murder of Hannah, who was aged 21 from Dalkeith, at his flat in Hutchison Road on 11th February 2017.

He was also found guilty of a breach of bail by contacting her family online the following month.

Keith and Moira Dorans, Hannah's parents, said: "No sentence will ever be long enough for us. The life of our wonderful daughter was brutally taken and our lives are forever changed."

They tell Hannah's story, in their own words, below.

Hannah dreamed of being a paramedic. From the age of 13, she volunteered for St. Andrew’s First Aid and helped at events in Midlothian. In fifth year, she got the chance to volunteer at events in Edinburgh. The first was the Royal Military Tattoo, and that’s where she met Neil.

It was like a whole new world had opened up to her, volunteering at all these big events. Neil was older, had volunteered for longer and seemed to have exceptional medical knowledge. Hannah looked up to him and he gave her opportunities to learn more lifesaving skills.

Not long after they started seeing each other, we took Hannah and a friend on holiday to Florida for a fortnight. It was just as we were going away that Neil messaged Hannah and told her he had a brain tumour, and that he could only tell her about it. She worried the rest of the time, but this was just the start of the lies.

After they split up, he sent her a picture of him cutting up her favourite top which she got when she visited Universal Studios while on another holiday to Orlando with Neil. After she died, we contacted Universal Studios in London, who sent us another top like her favourite, which she’s buried with.

Hannah and Neil eventually moved in together and became engaged. On two occasions, money went missing from our house – one of which was days before he bought the engagement ring.

Neil was on benefits and he knew how to work the system. Hannah and Neil volunteered for the Edinburgh SafeZone at this time, but she also worked full-time as a care support worker at a private hospital in the Murrayfield area.

When she volunteered with SafeZone we remember her telling us how she’d talked a woman down from suicide and sat with her for hours, and realised that a woman in police custody was behaving erratically because she was a diabetic in need of insulin. She was amazing at it.

Hannah also received medical training through her day job, and she was always looking to learn new skills. She went on a week’s intensive residential course to learn tracheotomy in Wales, and she also regularly gave blood – just another example of how caring she was. She was a compassionate person, and Neil took every opportunity to abuse this.

Hannah earned a little over £1,000 a month from her job, and we later learnt that he would take £1,000 out of her bank account as soon as she got paid. He had set up her banking passwords and her email account. He completely controlled her money. He pretended to be acting in her best interests and took advantage of her trust.

Hannah was so much happier after she left Neil. She was moving on and she even started seeing someone else. But Neil couldn’t let go, and it was very difficult for Hannah to cut ties with him.

He bombarded her with over a thousand texts in the two weeks before she died. During the trial, the defence said that she could have ignored them – this wasn’t Hannah’s nature and Neil was trying to wear her down. It really upset us and we felt that she was being blamed for him harassing her.

Keith went with Hannah to the bank to get the passwords changed, so he couldn’t take any more of her money. But they wanted to send a password reset to her email, and only Neil had the password for her email account. We had to basically shut her bank account down.

They had an outstanding council tax bill, and Hannah asked to pay half. The council said the bill had to be paid in full. Hannah was willing to pay the full amount to clear the debt but Neil was livid and he warned Hannah against this, saying any payment had to be sent to him and contacting the council telling them not to accept money from Hannah. We’ve no doubt that he just wanted the money for himself. However, so she would be clear of any debt, Hannah did pay the bill in full.

He had taken total control over her finances, and the systems of the companies we dealt with did not make it easy for people who desperately needed to get away from a former partner. Everything needs to be changed to better support people trying to leave an abusive relationship.

Eventually, we managed to get things sorted and she was ready to start a new life – the last thing was, she wanted to sell her car and buy a new one.

The documents for the car and insurance, which she needed, were still at Neil’s flat. She couldn’t get into her insurance documents online because, again, only Neil had the passwords. Hannah and Keith both contacted the company about this, but we didn’t even get a response.

The morning Hannah died, she’d just finished a nightshift. She was planning to get the documents from Neil, then head into town to buy her niece a birthday present before our granddaughter’s first birthday party later that day. She tried to get him to meet her in a nearby coffee shop, or meet her outside the flat, to hand them over but he insisted she to come into the flat to get them.

Neil called 999 a couple of hours after she finished work, saying that he’d killed Hannah – later claiming that he couldn’t remember what happened. Police detained him, then arrested and charged him and held him in custody to appear at court on the Monday. The Sheriff remanded him in custody but at his next court appearance, less than two weeks later, he was bailed.

On 1st March he sent us a lengthy message through social media, part of which said, “Knowing that I will not be at Hannah’s funeral and be unable to lay her to rest is heartbreaking”. He killed our daughter and he had the arrogance to contact us and tell us how hard this was for him. The day after this, he tried unsuccessfully to transfer £500 out of Hannah’s bank account and into a PayPal account of his.

These are not the actions of a person who is accidentally responsible for causing the death of someone they love; those are the actions of a devious criminal with no remorse. Words can’t describe how we felt at all this happening, while we were preparing to bury our only daughter. 

The post-mortem showed that Hannah had been pinned down and strangled to death. Following the forensic investigations, Neil was also charged with raping Hannah. The trial began in Glasgow on 15th October 2018 – we had waited in agony for twenty months for this.

He pled guilty to culpable homicide and the defence claimed that Hannah’s death was an accident. We knew this was a lie, and the evidence proved this.

During the trial we learned that Police Scotland had discovered a Google search on Neil’s phone, made just hours before Hannah died, for “culpable homicide diminished responsibility sentences”.

A neighbour also gave evidence of hearing Hannah yelling, “No, no – please stop” at the time she was murdered.

When the police arrived at the flat, they found a defibrillator and an oxygen tank, with a mask, on the same bed where Hannah was killed. Yet Neil, who was trained in first aid, had made no attempt to use this defibrillator to revive Hannah. 

Neil showed no emotion whatsoever during the trial, until it was his turn to take the stand, when it was like he was giving a performance. It was all about him. He was still trying to manipulate the situations and the people around him, as he had done with Hannah.

A verdict of murder was rightly returned by the jury. We were exceptionally hurt and disappointed, however, that they chose to take rape off the murder charge.

This is only a fraction of what happened – but we want Hannah’s story to be told, because she can’t tell this herself. People can be too afraid to mention Hannah to us – but not saying anything about her can be more hurtful. Just because the court case is finished, doesn’t mean we get to continue on with our lives as normal. We’re different people now and our world is forever changed.

We would like to thank Police Scotland for their wonderful support throughout this. In particular, Detective Inspector Stuart Alexander, the Major Investigation Team, our Family Liaison Officers and the analysts.

We’re also very grateful to the Victim Officers who supported us at court, and Mr Alex Prentice QC who prosecuted the case. The support of our family and friends, and the people in our community, who have helped us throughout this, is very much appreciated.

Frazer Neil is, and we believe always will be, a danger to women. Domestic abuse is not just physical – it can also be emotional and financial manipulation and control. Hannah never seemed to be afraid of Neil, she wanted to help people and she believed in people. He used this against her.

We would urge anyone who is worried or uncomfortable about the behaviour of a partner, or the partner of a loved one, to take action immediately. Don’t hesitate to speak up if you see the warning signs, like the lies and the control, and get help from the police or support services.

Hannah was a wonderful daughter and a beautiful person. Her life was ended far too soon but she will never be forgotten by those who loved and cared for her.

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