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Tragic Esther Brown’s rape and murder proves ‘failure of Scots justice system’

The tragic rape and murder of Esther Brown proves ‘failure of Scots justice system’, according to Rape Crisis Scotland.

The charity have called on Police Scotland to do a better job protecting women after the pensioner was brutally murdered at home.

It comes after evil beast Jason Graham appeared at the High Court in Glasgow on Friday where he admitted repeatedly punching, kicking and stamping on the 67-year-old’s head and body before striking her with pieces of wood from a chair.

The 30-year-old also raped Ms Brown who has been described as a “much loved and active member of the community” and was devoted to St Silas Church.

Jason Graham

Now Rape Crisis Scotland have said the devastating incident ‘shows the need for urgent action to end men’s violence against women.’

Taking to Twitter, they posted the heartbreaking story ‘demonstrates the failure of our justice system to effectively prioritise women’s safety’.

It comes as sick Graham was already being monitored by police after being released from a sentence for raping a retired nurse in 2014.

The court heard he was under surveillance after the release from his seven-and-a-half year sentence in June 2018.

Rape Crisis Scotland said: “Women repeatedly tell us that the systems meant to protect them are not fit for purpose.

Police activity in West Princes Street
Police activity in West Princes Street in the Woodlands area of Glasgow following the death of Esther Brown

“This heartbreaking story clearly demonstrates the failure of our justice system to effectively prioritise women’s safety.

“This is yet another story, following on from the trial of Sarah Everard’s murderer, which shows the need for urgent action to end men’s violence against women.

“We are aware a significant case review is underway, and it is crucial that any necessary changes are made to improve the systems in place to monitor sex offenders.

“Alongside this, we urge Police Scotland to consider this case as part of a wider examination of their practices and culture to reflect on how they can better tackle the violence against women which is endemic in Scotland.”

Floral tributes in West Princes Street
Floral tributes in West Princes Street

The court was told how the evil 30-year-old left her lying in the blood-soaked property before going to buy tobacco with his victim’s bank card at a shop near her Woodlands home on the night of the killing.

Her battered body was discovered inside the West Princes Street property on June 1 after she had been missing for four days and the door to her was found insecure.

The court was told how the evil 30-year-old left her lying in the blood-soaked property before going to buy tobacco with his victim’s bank card at a shop near her Woodlands home on the night of the killing.

Her battered body was discovered inside the West Princes Street property on June 1 after she had been missing for four days and the door to her was found insecure.

“He subjected her to a sustained attack, repeatedly punching, kicking and stamping on her head and body.

“He repeatedly struck her on the body with pieces of wood which came from a chair broken during the attack.”

Esther Brown
Esther Brown

A post-mortem found Esther had “extensive bruising around the entire face” as well as a fractured nose and nasal bone.

She also sustained severe cuts to her mouth and bruising to several areas of her body.

There were cuts found on her hands “which could have been sustained as she attempted to ward off blows.”

Bruising was also discovered which was “consistent with sexual assault.” Mr Prentice stated that Esther’s cause of death was: “Blunt force trauma of head and chest.”

Graham was spotted on CCTV purchasing tobacco at a shop at 9.19pm on the night of Esther’s death using her bank card.

The hearing was told Graham called a relative stating that he “robbed the flat and panicked” and that he had “done something bad.”

Graham stayed with the relative for several days until he was asked about a news article on the discovery of Esther’s body.

The court heard Graham’s “eyes went wide” and he looked “shocked” before saying: “I just robbed the place, I was looking for a turn.”

Graham left the property claiming he was going to wash his clothes and said “they’re coming for me.”

Esther’s friends meantime failed to hear from her as she did not attend her usual church services or community hall and cafe.

Mr Prentice said: “This was entirely out of character for her.”

When she failed to turn up for a pre-arranged walk at Kelvingrove Park on the Sunday friends became “concerned” and attended her flat on the Tuesday.

A 999 call was made as there was no answer and her door was insecure – it was able to be pushed open with minimal force.

Officers later discovered Esther’s body in the flat which had a “clear sign of a disturbance.”

Blood staining was found on items in the living room and the bathroom as well as torn clothing.

Mr Prentice added: “There were footwear impressions in blood with the same pattern throughout the flat.”

Swabs were taken from Esther’s body which was a match for Graham’s DNA.

Police attended the relative’s flat and arrested him.

He was charged for Esther’s murder and replied: “Aye, that’s my reply, it’s circumstantial.”

Graham’s QC Brian McConnachie told the court that there was nothing he could say that mitigates the offences.

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He added: “Not withstanding his lack of recollection in relation to the murder, he does have insight to not only the effect the crime had upon those who knew her and her relatives, but also to the impact it had on the wider community at the time.

“He indicates his deep regret in relation to these matters.”

The court was earlier told Esther lived alone but had a “fulfilling and rewarding life dedicated to helping others.”

She was described as “exceptionally kind, passionate and caring.”

Esther was an active member of her community and local church and there are plans in motion to have a lasting memorial in the area in her memory.

Lord Armstrong deferred sentence on Graham until November 12 at the High Court in Edinburgh for reports, including on his psychiatric history.

Graham, who appeared in court wearing a blue jumper and blue jeans, remains subject to Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009.

Police Scotland have welcomed the conviction and paid tribute to the local community for their support during the murder investigation.

Detective Superintendent Suzie Chow, of Police Scotland’s Major Investigation Teams said: “Jason Graham will now have to face the consequences of his actions.

“This was a brutal attack and one that left Esther’s family and the community absolutely devastated.

“It has been a harrowing ordeal for Esther’s family, her friends and those who knew her and my thoughts are with them as they continue to come to terms with her death.

“The response from the local community in the aftermath of Esther’s murder really demonstrated how loved and respected she was and I would like to thank them for their support, which was invaluable to the inquiry team.

“Whilst nothing can change what has happened, I hope this conviction will bring them some degree of comfort.

“I hope this sends a clear message that violence like this has no place in our society and will not be tolerated.

“Police Scotland will continue to work alongside our partners at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal service to make sure that any perpetrators are brought to justice and removed from our communities.”

“Whilst nothing can change what has happened, I hope this conviction will bring them some degree of comfort.

“I hope this sends a clear message that violence like this has no place in our society and will not be tolerated.

“Police Scotland will continue to work alongside our partners at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal service to make sure that any perpetrators are brought to justice and removed from our communities.”

Rape and sexual violence can happen to anyone, anywhere, and Rape Crisis Scotland exist to help anyone affected by this story.

Call the free helpline on 08088 01 03 02 – open every day between 6pm and midnight.



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