Glasgow & West Scotland

Isabelle Sanders death: Paul McManus denies murder

Paul McManus Image copyright Spindrift
Image caption Paul McManus denies murdering Isabelle Sanders at her home in Crookston

A man accused of killing a woman in her Glasgow home has admitted stabbing her partner but blamed the murder on other men he claimed were his accomplices.

Paul McManus, 20, told his trial at the High Court in Glasgow that he went to 51-year-old Isabelle Sanders' home in Crookston on 9 April to steal things.

He said he stabbed Norman Busby, 86, in a panic but did not kill Ms Sanders.

Mr McManus' has incriminated Ross Arthurs and Christopher O'Reilly, both of whom deny being at Ms Sanders home.

While giving evidence, Mr McManus admitted that he robbed and stabbed Ching Long Law in Nitshill Road, Glasgow, on 2 April.

He also admitted stealing three bottles of alcohol from the Day to Day Store in Glasgow Road, Barrhead on 8 April and on the same day, stabbing and attempting to steal a car from Daniel O'Donnell at the Spar Shop in Barrhead Road, Glasgow.

Mr McManus told defence QC Gordon Jackson that he and his alleged accomplices were looking for things to steal and saw the light on in Ms Sanders house.

'Shouting and threatening'

He said: "We were trying all sorts of doors. The plan was to threaten the person and steal their motor keys off them."

Mr Jackson said: "How were you going to threaten them?" and he replied: "With a knife, but I wasn't going to stab nobody. Just to threaten."

Mr McManus said that he knocked the back door and added: "The guy comes to the door. I opened the door and showed him the knives and forced him into the living room. I said: 'Get the car keys.'"

Image copyright BBC - police handout
Image caption Isabelle Sanders died after suffering 37 stab wounds

He then claimed that Ms Sanders came down the stairs and added: "I was obviously shouting, threatening him. He grabbed my left arm and the knife went into my hand. That's when the woman came down the stairs and I just panicked and stabbed him."

Mr McManus told the jury that Mr Arthurs and Mr O'Reilly came into the kitchen and he told them to stop Ms Sanders leaving or phoning the police.

He said he then went upstairs with Mr Busby to search for his car keys.

Mr Jackson said: "What happened then?" and Mr McManus replied: "I heard something. A struggle or something. I went down and Isabelle was lying down. They said she tried to get away and said they flung the phone away."

'State of panic'

The QC asked: "When you left to go upstairs was Ms Sanders injured?" and McManus said: "No, she was just in a state of panic."

Mr Jackson then said: "When you came back down had she been stabbed, was she on the ground, had she obviously been stabbed?" and he replied: "Aye."

The QC asked: "You were upstairs with Mr Busby when Ms Sanders got stabbed?" and he replied: "Yes, I didn't touch her at all."

Mr Jackson then stated: "Not a stab, not a wound," and McManus said: "No."

Mr Jackson asked Mr McManus: "Arthurs says he wasn't there at all, is he telling a pack of lies?" and the accused responded: "I wouldn't tell the truth either."

The QC then said to Mr McManus: "You position is that whoever stabbed Ms Sanders it wasn't you," and he said: "No, it wasn't me."

Mr McManus claimed in evidence that he and his two friends had singled out number 77 Raeswood in what he described as "the posh estate" because there were lights on.

'So horrific'

Under cross-examination by advocate depute Bruce Erroch, prosecuting, Mr McManus was asked: "What happened is that Ms Sanders bravely tried to stop you attacking her elderly partner and you turned the knives on her," and replied: "No."

Mr Erroch then said: "That's just nonsense, you stabbed her 37 times. You stabbed her in the back as she tried to get away," and Mr McManus replied: "That's not true."

The prosecutor added: "It's so horrific even you can't accept responsibility for it," and the accused again said: "That's not true."

The court has heard that a pair of jogging trousers and a tracksuit top belonging to Mr McManus had the DNA of Ms Sanders on them.

In evidence Mr McManus admitted they were his, but claimed that that night they were worn by Mr Arthurs.

Mr McManus was asked why he never told the police about Mr Arthurs and Mr O'Reilly allegedly being with him and replied: "I didn't tell the police. I wouldn't have told nobody if they hadn't said it was me."

The trial before judge Lord Armstrong continues.

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