Edith McAlinden (born 1968) is a British
murderess who, along with her 17-year-old son John McAlinden and his
16-year-old friend Jamie Gray, was involved in a triple murder at a
flat, dubbed "The House Of Blood", in Crosshill, Glasgow, Scotland on
17 October 2004.
Convicted thief, prostitute and homeless drifter
Edith McAlinden was released from prison, where she had served a
nine-month sentence for a serious assault, on Sunday 16 October 2004.
She visited a top-floor flat on Dixon Avenue, in Crosshill, where her
boyfriend David Gillespie, 42, shared with Anthony Coyle, 71, and
landlord Ian Mitchell, 67, whom McAlinden referred as "Pops".
An argument erupted between McAlinden and Gillespie
during a drinking session, which spurred her into stabbing a knife in
Gillespie's thighs repeatedly, severing a femoral vein in one thigh
that caused him to bleed to death. McAlinden panicked and telephoned
her son John for help. John arrived with his friend Jamie Gray by
taxi. McAlinden persuaded Mitchell to pay for their taxi fare. He
agreed, mistakenly believing that her son and his friend had come to
When John realised Mitchell was a witness, he
fatally stabbed him and kicked his head repeatedly, which caused his
brain to bleed heavily. Coyle escaped to his bedroom where he locked
himself in. John and Jamie used a drill to remove the door locks and
forced their way into the bedroom. Jamie chased and beaten Coyle to
death with a golf club.
Two hours later, at approximately 3AM, McAlinden
went to neighbour James Sweeney's house and claimed something had
happened at Ian Mitchell's flat. She begged him to check. Sweeney went
to the flat and once he saw the state of the hallway, he phoned 999 on
his mobile phone. He later revealed to local reporters that walls and
floors were covered with blood, which quickly earned the killings a
nickname, "The House of Blood."
When the police and paramedics arrived, they found
McAlinden alone and clinging to Gillespie's body, screaming at him to
wake up. McAlinden was formally charged next day, Monday 18 October,
at Glasgow sheriff court for the murders. During the investigation,
the police speculated McAlinden didn't act alone and that there were
two or three strong men involved because, according to a police record
during the trial, "there was so much blood in the flat that it was
impossible to be precise about the details of the violence."
Two weeks later, homeless unit resident Bryan
Gallagher visited police station to file a claim that his fellow
resident, John McAlinden, had boasted about the murders the night
before. John and Jamie Gray were arrested and formally charged.
Trial and sentence
In May 2005, Edith McAlinden, John McAlinden and
Jamie Gray appeared at Glasgow High Court. All denied murdering Ian
Mitchell, Anthony Coyle and David Gillespie.
During the trial, prosecutor Sean Murphy QC claimed
that the victims had been "beaten with knives, metal files, a belt,
and pieces of wood" and "hit with a bottle, punched, stabbed and
stamped on the head, and had boiling water poured over them".
The defendants changed their pleas during the
trial. John McAlinden admitted he killed Mitchell, Jamie Gray admitted
killing Coyle, and Edith McAlinden admitted killing Gillespie.
On 29 Jun 2005, McAlinden was sentenced to life
imprisonment with an understanding that she's expected to serve in
prison until at least 2018. John McAlinden and Jamie Gray were each
given a minimum tariff of 12 years.
'Mother of evil' jailed for
June 30, 2005
A woman dubbed
“the mother of all evil” was jailed for life yesterday for her role in
an outbreak of violence that ended in the death of three men.
Edith McAlinden, 37, a drifter,
murdered her boyfriend by stabbing him twice in the thigh, severing
his femoral vein, in the first of three murders after a marathon
drinking session in a Glasgow flat. David Gillespie, 42, his blood
thinned by a combination of strong wine and cider, bled to death, too
drunk to help himself.
McAlinden’s son, John, then 16,
who had arrived by taxi with a friend, Jamie Gray, also 16, then
murdered the flat’s tenant, Ian Mitchell, 67, amid allegations of
sexual impropriety. Mr Mitchell’s flatmate, Tony Coyle, a 71-year-old
Irishman, was killed by Gray. Police believe that this was possibly to
eliminate him as a witness.
Both youths were ordered to be
detained with no time limit.
After the carnage, Edith
McAlinden, awaking from “insensibility through drink”, alerted a
neighbour who called the police. The scene that greeted officers was
such that the top-floor flat in Crosshill, Glasgow, became known as
the House of Blood. Walls, floor, and even a ceiling were spattered in
pints of blood. Human tissue and pieces of skull and brain were stuck
to the floor and curtains.
Three corpses lay crumpled and
scattered around them were an axe, knives, a hammer, lumps of wood, a
baseball bat, golf clubs, metal files and a belt. An electric drill
had apparently been used to remove the locks of a bedroom where Mr
Coyle took refuge. Boiling water had been poured over Mr Mitchell’s
head, possibily to make sure that he was dead.
Midway through a trial at the
High Court in Glasgow last month, Edith McAlinden changed her plea to
admit the murder of Mr Gillespie. John McAlinden, now 17, pleaded
guilty to murdering Mr Mitchell, and Gray to murdering Mr Coyle.
All three had
been charged with three counts of murder. At the High Court in
Dunfermline yesterday, the judge, Lady Dorrian, set a minimum tariff
of 13 years for Edith McAlinden before she may be considered for
parole. Gray and John McAlinden must serve 12 years each before any
The public benches, packed with
relatives and friends of the dead men, erupted in anger.
Mr Gillespie’s former partner,
Violet Cahill, 45, who had three daughters by him, shouted as Edith
McAlinden was led below: “She took a father’s life and she’ll be free
in 13 years.”
given life for flat killings
June 29, 2005
woman, her teenage son and his friend have been jailed for life
following the murders of three men in a Glasgow flat.
McAlinden, 37, will have to serve a minimum of 13 years before being
eligible for parole.
John, 17, and 16-year-old Jamie Gray were each given a minimum tariff
of 12 years.
McAlinden admitted killing David Gillespie 42; her son to killing Ian
Mitchell, 67, and Gray to killing Tony Coyle, 71.
separate guilty pleas were accepted at the High Court in Glasgow at
the end of May.
were sentenced at the High Court in Dunfermline on Wednesday.
McAlinden had been the girlfriend of Mr Gillespie. The pair were both
homeless, as was McAlinden's 17-year-old son John.
court heard that the men were subjected to "appalling levels of savage
violence" at the flat on Dixon Avenue in the Crosshill area of the
city last October.
were attacked with a variety of weapons, including an axe, a baseball
bat, golf clubs, a hammer, boiling water, knives, metal files, a belt
and pieces of wood.
sentence, Lady Dorrian said of Edith McAlinden: "I recognise that you
were initially charged with three murders whereas the Crown have
accepted a plea to one murder and that in very different terms from
the way in which it was originally charged.
the circumstances I fix the punishment part at 13 years.
doing so, I have taken account of the fact that you tendered a plea of
guilty, which although tendered during trial, nevertheless cut short
what would otherwise have been a much longer trial.
have reduced the punishment part from the 14 which I would otherwise
Reacting to the sentence, the mother of Mr Gillespie's children,
Violet Cahill, said: "I am just disgusted, yet they go down the stairs
laughing as if the whole thing is a big joke.
are animals on the street better than these people. They are scum.
children stay up crying all night because they've lost their dad."
admit 'savage' flat killings
May 26, 2005
mother, her son and his friend face life sentences for the murder of
three men at a Glasgow flat in October.
McAlinden, her son John and Jamie Gray, were accused of murdering
David Gillespie and Ian Mitchell, both from Glasgow, and Tony Coyle,
separate guilty pleas were accepted at the High Court in Glasgow.
McAlinden pleaded guilty to the murder of Mr Gillespie, 42, her son to
the murder of Mr Mitchell, 67, and Jamie Gray to murdering Mr Coyle,
McAlinden, 37, was the girlfriend of Mr Gillespie. The pair were both
homeless, as was McAlinden's 17-year-old son John.
court heard that the men were subjected to "appalling levels of savage
violence" at the flat on Dixon Avenue in the Crosshill area of the
city, which was owned by Mr Mitchell.
three will be sentenced at the High Court in Dunfermline at the end of
witness who lived in the flat below had described hearing a "noise
like thunder" and told how the ceiling shook just hours before the
three men were found dead.
court heard that the men were attacked with a variety of weapons,
including an axe, a baseball bat, golf clubs, a hammer, boiling water,
knives, metal files, a belt and pieces of wood.
Scotland investigations correspondent Bob Wylie said the attacks had
taken place following a drinking session.
said: "We know, according to the court, that David Gillespie died of
stab wounds in his legs, we know that Mr Mitchell died of several stab
wounds in his chest and injuries consistent with having his head
know also that Mr Coyle died of a severe beating, consistent with
being beaten about the head with a golf club."
Coyle had locked himself in a bedroom, so had not seen the killings
but was the only witness in the flat apart from McAlinden, her son and
killed after a drill was used to remove the locks and boiling water
was then poured over Mr Gillespie and Mr Mitchell's heads in a bizarre
attempt to see if they were still alive.
jury had been shown a harrowing video of the carnage inside the flat.
body of Mr Mitchell was lying on a settee on one side of the living
room littered with knives, a baseball bat, golf clubs, bottles and
Coyle was lying on another settee and Mr Gillespie was in between
them, lying on the floor in front of the fireplace.
bodies, walls, floor and ceiling were covered in their blood.
McAlinden, who had only been released from prison the day before after
serving nine months for serious assault, had stayed at Mr Mitchell's
flat on previous occasions.
police arrived she was in an hysterical state holding onto Mr
Gillespie's body, screaming "wake up, wake up, don't do this to me".
had been suggestions the dispute started over getting more money to
buy drink. McAlinden also refuted allegations surrounding the
relationship between her and Mr Mitchell.
Prosecutor Sean Murphy QC said there was so much blood in the flat
that it was impossible to be precise about the details of the violence
or be certain about the sequence of events.
Cahill, who had been Mr Gillespie's partner for 20 years before
splitting up three years ago, said she could not comprehend the
said: "I hope they rot in hell for what they've done to two old men
and my ex-partner.
"Justice should be done for the horrific things that they've done,
knives and axes and drills and kettles - they said they put boiling
water over them to see if they were dead - how evil can people get?"
added: "Edith McAlinden, in particular, is a monster."
statement read out on behalf of the families of the two other victims
said: "Tony and Ian were the best of friends they didn't deserve to be
Outside the court,
Detective Superintendent Willie Johnstone, who led the inquiry said:
"The crime scene was the most chilling I have every visited."
Triple murder flat ceiling
May 13, 2005
A bus driver has told a murder trial he heard a
"noise like thunder" and the ceiling shook just hours before three men
were found dead in the flat above.
Isher Singh Dass lived below the flat in Glasgow's
Crosshill where the bodies of Ian Mitchell, Anthony Coyle and David
Gillespie were found in October.
Edith McAlinden, her son John, 17, and Jamie Gray,
16, deny the murders.
The High Court in Glasgow heard claims the men were
attacked with an axe, a baseball bat, golf clubs and a hammer.
The prosecution claimed that Mr Mitchell, 67, and
Mr Coyle, 71, were also beaten with knives, metal files, a belt, and
pieces of wood.
It also said that Mr Mitchell and Mr Gillespie, 42,
were hit with a bottle, punched, stabbed and stamped on the head, and
had boiling water poured over them.
Mr Coyle, it is claimed, had a cushion pressed on
to his face with feet.
Earlier, the prosecution began to build a picture
of the three dead men.
Mr Mitchell's son John, 38, said that his dad was a
retired joiner and the flat in Dixon Avenue where he was found dead
was the family home.
He told the court that Mr Coyle, who came
originally from Ireland, had been a lodger in the house for 10 years.
Six months before he died he had retired from his job as a labourer.
When asked if he had ever met murder accused Edith
McAlinden, Mr Mitchell replied: "Three or four times."
He added: "She was in the flat when I went to see
Mr Mitchell said he was not sure if she was a
friend of his father's.
Three Men Slaughtered At The Hands Of A Mother,
Son And His Teenage Pal
Februry 8, 2008
A FEW quid for a taxi fare wasn't much to ask and
the old man duly obliged the younger woman, a good friend. Little did
he know the taxi was bringing hell on Earth.
Ian Mitchell, 67, was the man who dished out the
They were in his home at Dixon Avenue in Crosshill,
Glasgow, which he shared with his close pal, Tony Coyle, 71.
A couple of old codgers who drank a bit, they were
harmless and well liked locally.
The woman asking for taxi money was Edith
McAlinden, 37, a close pal of Ian who even had a pet name for him,
Edith had a booze problem and was a bit of a
handful. She was not long out of jail for yet another minor affray but
Mitchell always welcomed her into his home.
It was the fourth person in the flat who was
causing concern at that time. Big concern. They thought he was dying.
David Gillespie, 42, was McAlinden's partner. The
pair had been drinking most of that day and had a lover's tiff as they
sat together on the couch in Ian Mitchell's home drinking with him and
McAlinden had stabbed Gillespie twice in the
thighs. Major arteries run through the legs and he was seriously
wounded. It looked like he was dying.
McAlinden panicked. For reasons only she knew she
decided to get help - not an ambulance or the police but her son, John
McAlinden, 17, and his pal, Jamie Gray, 16.
She phoned her boy and they arrived in a taxi.
That's when Edith asked Pops for the taxi money. They didn't even have
If Ian Mitchell and Tony Coyle were expecting Good
Samaritans they were sadly mistaken.
Two hours later, Edith McAlinden arrived at the
house of a neighbour, James Sweeney.
"Something has happened, Jim" she saidand begged
him to go to Ian Mitchell's flat .
Sweeney agreed - and walked right into the House of
That's what the media would call Ian Mitchell's
place and with good cause. The ceiling and walls dripped with gore and
three men lay dead in the carnage.
Sweeney managed to hold down bile rising in his
gullet and phoned 999.
Even experienced cops and paramedics blanched at
the scene they found. In the middle of it, sat Edith McAlinden nursing
David Gillespie in her arms.
The bodies of IanMitchell and Tony Coyle were
slashed and battered, almost mashed.
It was obvious that this was not the work of one
They tried to get David Gillespie away from Edith
She wasn't for letting go but sat, rocking,
gripping him in her arms, repeating: "Wake up. Wake up."
When they eventually eased the man out of her arms,
they found he was dead.
Glasgow cops are too used to dealing with murder.
The city didn't become Murder Capital of Europe overnight.
But this was a triple murder and rare, thank God.
Edith McAlinden was blood smeared with her DNA all
over the scene and the dead men - but they were too damaged and the
flat too wrecked for one person to have committed the atrocity.
The cops reckoned there had to be three or four
others involved, men, strong men.
They were soon to be proven wrong.
Homeless hostels in Glasgow are a collection of
those fallen on bad times and those who have never known anything
There are ex-offenders, former psychiatric
patients, alcoholics, drug addicts and just plain lonely people.
That doesn't mean to say there is no sense of right
and wrong.Young Bryan Gallagher lived in such a homeless unit and had
something to tell the cops.
Hostel resident John McAlinden had been boasting to
him the night before.
"Stabbed a guy in the legs, man," he had said.
"There was blood everywhere. It was a fella tried to rape my ma. So I
had to teach him a lesson, eh."
With Gallagher nodding, smiling, managing to hide
his horror McAlinden was encouraged to tell the whole tale of torture
and beating to death of three men helped by someone he called his
"brother" really his pal, Jamie Gray.
Then he added: "And I did my ma's boyfriend."
Bryan Gallagher went to the police. John McAlinden
joined his mother on a murder charge, along with Jamie Gray.
In May 2005, Edith and John McAlinden along with
Gray all appeared at Glasgow High Court. Each denied murdering all
Even before the proceedings started, the three
giggled and chattered in the court like they were at some party.
Forensic evidence tied the three to the murders as
well as JohnMcAlinden's confession to Bryan Gallagher.
Then the judge, Lady Dorian, agreed to allow a
police film of the murder scene.
The jury were warned by the prosecutor, SeanMurphy
QC, that it was distressing.
The grubby flat was trashed and the floor littered
with objects and bottles of booze.
The walls ran blood red and around the room lay a
hammer, a golf club, baseball bat, lumps of wood and an electric drill
- all smeared red. Now and then the camera zoomed in to one item - a
golf club with blood-stained tufts of hair, a knife with fleshy matter
sticking to the blade and handle.
The jury must have been sick to their stomachs. It
did the trick.
Suddenly, the defence announced a change of plea.
The accused would plead guilty to murder but only of one man each,
aploy to reduce the level of punishment.
It didn't change the fact that there had been an
orgy of killing on the night the teenagers turned up at the flat.
At the trial they made some claims that their plan
was to make it look like someone else had committed the murders since
it was obvious that David Gillespie was in a bad way and unlikely to
They were covering up for Edith McAlinden, even if
that meant murdering innocent men.
They started on IanMitchell, stabbing him so hard
and repeatedly his brain bled. John McAlinden pled guilty to his
Tony Coyle fled in terror, locking himself in his
bedroom but they battered the door down and beat him as he fled
through the flat. Jamie Gray admitted to finally smashing his head in
with a golf club.
Later, they poured kettles of boiling water on the
heads of elderly pals Mitchell and Coyle. Why? To test if they were
alive, they said. They might have been.
It was multiple murder and entirely motiveless
unless the trivial row between Edith McAlinden was any motive. Not to
most decent people.
The two young men were sentenced to 12 years each
and Edith McAlinden to a minimum of 13 years, in her case for the
murder of David Gillespie.
They had fooled no one by pleading guilty to only
one murder each.
The bloody details of the murders had sickened even
the most experienced lawyers and court officials.
Yet after they were sentenced, the three murderers
were still laughing and joking as they were led away.
If the public were disgusted by Edith McAlinden's
crimes, so too were some prisoners.
On her arrival at Cornton Vale, she boasted about
being the woman from the House of Blood. Not for long.
Some prisoners took her aside and told her she was
in trouble, that they were going to punish her.
When that grief cooled down, McAlinden showed
another side to her character by embarking on a series of lesbian
affairs with many women includingMichelleMorrow, a drug dealer, and
the murdering chef, Pamela Gourlay.
Maybe that's why the horrors had started that
Maybe David Gillespie had tried to have sex with
the woman who was known as his partner.
Then again, maybe Edith McAlinden simply hated men.
Hated them to death.