Ross Taggart found guilty of murdering his mother
A man has been found guilty of murdering his mother and disposing of her body under a caravan in Fife.
Ross Taggart, 31, throttled 54-year-old Carol Taggart after an argument shortly before Christmas last year.
The judge, Lord Uist, sentenced him to life in prison and ordered him to serve a minimum of 18 years.
Taggart had denied murdering his mother on 21 or 22 December last year at the house they shared at Hill of St Margaret in Dunfermline.
Taggart was also convicted for attempting to pervert the course of justice after he hid his mother's body within a caravan park in Pettycur Bay, Kinghorn.
He was found guilty after a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.
'Course of deceit'
The judge told him: "How you have lived with your conscience since you murdered your mother, I do not know."
Lord Uist said: "You have been convicted by the unanimous verdict of the jury of the terrible crime of the murder of your own mother, a woman who did a great deal, indeed probably too much, for you in the course of her life.
"In the course of an argument on December 21 or 22 last year you caused her head injuries and throttled her to death.
"You thereafter embarked on a calculated course of deceit by reporting her as missing to the police and persistently lying about your actions."
Taggart's sister Lorraine Bristow Taggart, 27, said: "As a family we will try to move forward. However, even given today's outcome, we shall never get over my mum Carol's death. We will simply get further away from the event.
"She was a 54-year-old mum and a gran-of-five.
"Despite her strong willed nature, she was loved by us all and is missed every day by us and we are devastated by how cruelly she was taken from us."
Taggart claimed his mother had stormed out of the house in Dunfermline, where she ran a children's nursery business, in the early hours of 22 December last year, sparking a missing person search.
He then treated himself to a night out in Edinburgh with cocktails and a meal and a visit to the cinema to see The Hunger Games using his mother's credit card.
Days later he visited a pawnbrokers in the city looking to sell a favourite diamond ring of his mother, claiming it had been left to him. The ring sale did not go through, but he did get £100 for a gold bracelet.
Taggart claimed his mother had left in her car taking her bag and keys, but leaving her phone.
Taggart told the court that he had been off work since October after returning from a trip to New York where his mother had taken him for his 30th birthday.
He claimed his mother had always been "very supportive" but the court heard previously she accused him of being "a sponger" to her in a message.
Mrs Taggart suffered a head injury when she was attacked and blood was later found at her home and at the caravan along with sign of a clean up effort.
Blood was also found on one of Taggart's trainers. He claimed his mother suffered nose bleeds.
Advocate depute Iain McSporran accused Taggart of being "an accomplished and plausible liar".
Taggart's sister, Ms Bristow, said he was her mother's "blue-eyed boy".
She said on 23 December Taggart contacted her husband and she could hear what her brother was saying on the phone. "I could hear him saying mum was missing... They had an argument and she stormed out the house. It was during the night she had left."
Mrs Bristow said: "My mum wouldn't storm out her own house. I have had arguments, she would tell you to leave."
Det Ch Insp Keith Hardie, of Police Scotland, said: "During the initial inquiries to trace Carol-Anne Taggart, her son Ross provided various pieces of information to police that were either inaccurate or completely false.
"His intentions were to hinder the investigation to find his mother and establish what had happened to her.
"After Carol-Anne's body was found, it was established she had been subjected to a significant level of violence prior to her death and as a result of the evidence gathered during our inquiries, Ross Taggart was quickly arrested.
"The conclusion of this trial will now allow the rest of the Taggart family to begin to move on with their lives and I would like to thank them for their continued support and assistance during this investigation."
He added: "I suspect the motive might have been financial. I think Ross had hit on hard times and was certainly struggling financially, that was the impression we got.
"Then again to do that to your own mother and the total disregard he showed for her even after he had killed her, placing her under a caravan, is just beyond comprehension."