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Family members of murdered Fife mum tell killer to ‘enjoy’ jail as he is handed life sentence

Claire Turnbull.
Claire Turnbull.

A murderer who bludgeoned a Fife mother to death with a claw hammer has been jailed for life.

Aaron Donald, 28, who smashed 36-year-old Claire Turnbull eight times on the head in a frenzied attack leaving her lying in a pool of blood, was ordered to serve at least 18 years behind bars.

The attack, which only lasted 90 seconds, took place at his flat at Rintoul Avenue, Blairhall, near Dunfermline, on October 5 last year.

Police at the scene in Blairhall after the death of Claire Tunrbull.

Donald claimed he snapped after Claire made sexual advances to his girlfriend, 30-year-old Laura McMurdo. He later told police she had “disrespected him”.

Sentencing him at the High Court in Glasgow, Lady Scott told Donald: “Claire was a deeply loving woman known to be friendly and caring.

“You brutally took her life. You have left her young children, her partner and her family without her.

“You had never met her before that day and launched a savage and frenzied attack when she was in the flat and struck her repeatedly with a hammer at least eight times.

“The reason for this attack is not clear. You said she was disrespecting you.

“You present a very real risk of serious harm to the public. However, it is up to the parole board when you are released.”

‘Justice for my daughter’: Mum praises jury as man is found guilty of murdering Claire Turnbull

As he was led away to the cells, members of Claire’s family shouted: “Enjoy”, “eighteen years with his record,” and “it’s not enough”.

Claire suffered multiple skull fractures in the horrific attack.

The court heard that Donald has 50 previous convictions, including seven for violence.

Defence QC Bert Kerrigan said: “Mr Donald has shown significant remorse. He has a history of psychiatric problems.”

During the trial Paul Smith, 36, said he got a phone call from Donald shortly after he had killed Claire and added: “He was telling me he’d done something real bad, something a bit crazy.

“He told me he’d killed a woman. I said ‘Are you sure she’s dead?’

“He said: ‘Oh aye. She’s dead. I hit her a number of times with a hammer and there’s brain matter everywhere’.”

Mr Smith also said in a statement to police: “Aaron told me that the girl had tried it on with Laura and tried touching her and then he said: ‘I lost it and battered her to death’.”

During his trial Donald admitted killing Claire, but claimed he was suffering from diminished responsibility at the time.

The jury rejected this and convicted him of murder.

In evidence, Donald said: “It shouldn’t have happened. I’m no monster like folk make out. I can’t take back what I done.”

He also claimed he could not get Claire’s death out of his mind and said: “I honestly lost the plot.”

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