Lawyer cleared of ordering cousin to kill 'thief'

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Joanne ThreshieImage source, Spindrift
Image caption,
Joanne Threshie had denied killing Frederick McGettigan at his home in Bishopbriggs

A lawyer has been acquitted of ordering her cousin to kill a man she believed had broken into her home.

A judge dismissed the case against Joanne Threshie after hearing legal submissions from her QC Brian McConnachie.

Mrs Threshie, 37, had denied killing Frederick McGettigan at his home at Clelland Crescent, Bishopbriggs, on 6 August, 2017.

Her cousin Kirk McIntyre is serving life for the murder,

Mrs Threshie, of Bishopbriggs, had been accused of giving him the name and address of Mr McGettigan and inciting and encouraging him to perpetrate serious violence.

It was alleged that she did so because she believed Mr McGettigan, 51, had broken into her home on 29 or 30 July, 2017, and stolen items.

But Lord Matthews told the mother-of-three, who is married to a police officer, that she was free to go.

Image caption,
It was alleged Ms Threshie was involved in the murder of Frederick McGettigan at his home in Bishopbriggs

At the High Court in Glasgow Lord Matthews said: "With some hesitation I have formed the view there is just enough evidence that Kirk McIntyre committed the murder.

"As far as Mrs Threshie the evidence makes it plain that she at some point communicated the name and address to Mr McIntyre."

But the judge said that did not show she intended any harm to come to Mr McGettigan and added: "There is simply no way the jury could have reached that conclusion. The fact that she had the name and address is not enough."

Earlier prosecutor Iain McSporran QC withdrew the murder charge and changed it to culpable homicide.

But then Mr McConnachie put forward his no case to answer argument which he won.

'No evidence'

Mr McConnachie said: "The only evidence we have about someone having an animus against housebreakers is Mr McIntyre.

"There is nothing to suggest Mrs Threshie wanted harm to come to anyone.

"There is no evidence that Joanne Threshie did what is libelled against her."

Mr McSporran argued: "It is all to do with context."

Referring to the giving of the name and address to McIntyre, he said:" It was the lighting of the touch paper and can anyone properly be surprised when an explosion occurs.

"He was a violent man aggrieved by what happened to a valued family member.

"On the evidence Mr McGettigan had nothing whatsoever to do with this housebreaking."

'Quite worrying'

During the legal submissions Lord Matthews said: "Why would a man who had carried out a housebreaking go along to a police station and hand in a handbag? It's quite worrying that constitutes Police Scotland's thinking."

The High Court in Glasgow heard Mr McGettigan found a handbag near to the Stables Bar on the canal between Bishopbriggs and Kirkintilloch and handed it in at Kirkintilloch police station in the early hours of 30 July, 2017.

His name and details were then passed on to Mrs Threshie's husband William, who was a serving police officer at the time.

Officers also told him they considered Mr McGettigan's actions "dodgy".

In evidence Mr Threshie said he never passed on that information to his wife, but she overheard it while he was on the phone to a police colleague.

Family and friends of Mr McGettigan made no comment as they left court.