House of Blood murders

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Edith McAlinden (born 1968) is a Scottish murderess who, along with her 17-year-old son John McAlinden and his 16-year-old friend Jamie Gray,[1] 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[2] 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.[1] 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 help Gillespie.[3]

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.[3] John and Jamie used a drill to remove the door locks[1] and forced their way into the bedroom. Jamie chased Coyle and beat him to death with a golf club.

Two hours later, at approximately 03:00, 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 the emergency services 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,[2] 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."[1]

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[edit]

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[4] 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.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Trio admit 'savage' flat killings, BBC, 26 May 2005, retrieved 28 November 2012 
  2. ^ a b Seenan, Gerard (18 October 2004). "Woman charged in flat killings". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Three Men Slaughtered at the Hands Of a Mother, Son and His Teenage Pal". The Daily Record. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  4. ^ Triple murder flat ceiling shook, BBC, 26 May 2005, retrieved 28 November 2012 
  5. ^ Trio given life for flat killings, BBC, 29 June 2005, retrieved 28 November 2012