Glasgow & West Scotland

Surjit Singh Chhokar trial: Accused 'admitted stabbing'

Surjit Singh Chhokar Image copyright PA
Image caption Surjit Singh Chhokar died in 1998

A man accused of murdering Surjit Singh Chhokar in 1998 admitted to his former sister-in-law that he stabbed him, a murder trial has heard.

Noreen McPolland, 54, told the High Court in Glasgow that Ronnie Coulter made the alleged confession when she visited him in Barlinnie Prison.

She said the conversation took place in 1998 or 1999 when he was on remand awaiting trial for Mr Chhokar's murder.

Mr Coulter denies murdering Mr Chhokar and blames two other men.

The 48-year-old, from Wishaw, denies stabbing the 32-year-old in Garrion Street, Overtown, North Lanarkshire, on 4 November 1998.

Mr Coulter has lodged a special defence blaming his nephew Andrew Coulter and another man, David Montgomery.

'I stabbed him'

At the High Court in Glasgow, prosecutor Alex Prentice QC asked Ms McPolland whether Mr Coulter had ever said anything about the death of Mr Chhokar.

She replied: "He said 'I stabbed him'. 'I stabbed the Paki bastard'."

Ms McPolland, who was married to Mr Coulter's brother, Andrew, for 15 years, told the jury that she visited her brother-in-law in prison with his sister Margaret Chisholm when he made the remarks.

She added: "Margaret told him to own up to what he had done and he told us he had stabbed Mr Chhokar."

Mr Prentice asked: "What was your reaction?" She replied: "I got up and went to the canteen and I bought some stuff. I didn't want involved in it."

The prosecutor then asked if Mr Coulter had said anything else and Ms McPolland said he had when he visited his brother just days after the death of Mr Chhokar.

Giro cheque

Mr Prentice said: "Did he make any reference to the death of Chhokar," and she responded saying: "My husband asked him if if he had stabbed Mr Chhokar. He said he had stabbed Mr Chhokar.

"He said Mr Chhokar was shouting after he had stabbed him. He was shouting 'Liz, Liz they've stabbed me.'

The jury has heard that Ronnie Coulter, his nephew Andrew Coulter and David Montgomery went to see Mr Chhokar on 4 November 1998, in a row over a £100 Giro cheque.

After an altercation, Mr Chhokar collapsed dying in the street in front of his partner Liz Bryce.

In evidence given earlier in the trial Andrew Coulter admitted hitting Chhokar on the arm with a home-made lead-filled bat, but denied stabbing him. Mr Montgomery also denies stabbing him.

Pathologist Dr Marjorie Turner revealed that Chhokar was stabbed in the chest three times and died from massive blood loss.

The jury earlier heard that Ronnie Coulter was tried and acquitted of murdering Mr Chhokar in 1999.

The trial before judge Lord Matthews continues.

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