September 2023

Brother jailed for life for murdering and sexually assaulting his teenage sister

A brother who sexually assaulted and then brutally murdered his 16-year-old sister has been jailed for life, while another man who found her corpse – only to intimately touch and hide her body – was also sentenced to nine years in prison.

Connor Gibson, aged 21, was found guilty in July of attacking his sister Amber in woodland near Hamilton, in South Lanarkshire, on 26 November 2021.

A 13-day trial heard that he had removed his sister’s clothes, sexually assaulted her with the intention of raping her, inflicted blunt force trauma to her head and body, and strangled her.

Her body was discovered in Cadzow Glen, a park in the town centre, two days later.

The day before his arrest on 1 December, Gibson posted a chilling tribute to his sister, writing on Facebook: “Amber, you will fly high for the rest of time. We will all miss you. Especially me. I love you ginger midget. GBFN [goodbye for now] X.”

Gibson was sentenced at the High Court in Livingston on Monday to a minimum of 22 years in prison. Judge Lord Mulholland told him: “The person she saw last was you, sexually assaulting her with the intent to rape her, breaking her nose and strangling the life out of her. What you did was truly evil.”

Stephen Corrigan, aged 45, was also sentenced to nine years in jail on Monday, after he was found guilty of attempting to defeat the ends of justice and breach the peace by intimately touching and concealing Amber’s body after discovering it, instead of contacting the emergency services.

In a separate case, it emerged that Amber was raped five months before she was murdered.

In that case Jamie Starrs, 20, assaulted Amber and raped her while she was asleep or unconscious at a property in Bothwell in June 2021. He was jailed for 10 and a half years last month.

During the trial this week, the court heard how evidence from forensic pathologists showed Amber had died as a result of compression of the neck.

When Gibson was convicted, the former foster family of both siblings said in a statement that Amber was “the most giving, loving, supportive and admirable person”, and their lives would “never be the same again”.

Amber’s foster family could be heard sobbing in the public gallery as Gibson was led away to begin his sentence.

Concerns were raised about the siblings soon after their foster parents were granted permanent care of them. Giving evidence during the trial, Mr Niven said he would not leave the two alone together as they were “not a good mix”.

The foster care arrangement broke down when Amber was 14 years old and she moved into Hillhouse children’s unit, while her brother remained with the Nivens until his 18th birthday. At the time of her murder, he was a resident at Hamilton’s Blue Triangle project, a hostel for homeless youngsters.

Despite describing their relationship as turbulent, Amber’s friend told jurors she had been looking forward to seeing him in the hours before she was killed.

CCTV footage showed the two walking along the streets of Hamilton, with Amber later sending a selfie of the two captioned “my big bro”. It was the last time anyone would hear from her alive.