Andrew Innes: Man who murdered Bennylyn Burke and her daughter Jellica, 2, jailed for life
A man who killed a woman and her two-year-old daughter before burying their bodies under his kitchen floor has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 36 years.
Andrew Innes, 52, was found guilty of murdering Bennylyn Burke, 25, and Jellica Burke after a five-day trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.
He was also convicted of sexually abusing the toddler and raping another child at his Dundee home between February 20 and March 5 2021.
Judge Lord Beckett instructed the jury to return guilty verdicts on both murder charges, following the medical evidence heard on Innes’ state of mind at the time.
Innes, who at times sobbed in the witness box while giving evidence in his defence, had denied all charges but the jury of eight men and seven women spent just under two and a half hours to find he was responsible for the crimes.
Bennylyn and Jellica Burke’s family said they would be “forever haunted” by Innes’s crimes.
In a statement via the Crown Office’s Victim Information and Advice (Via) service, the family, who travelled from the Philippines to attend the trial, said: “A big part of our family has been torn from us. We shall never see Bennylyn and Jellica again.
“We shall never know our beloved Jellica or ever see her grow up.”
The statement continued: “We shall be forever haunted by what happened to (Bennylyn) in this far-off place such a long way from us, her family.”
It concluded: “There is nothing that can restore Bennylyn and Jellica to us. But the jury’s guilty verdict for murder provides some comfort to our family and friends and brings justice for Bennylyn and Jellica.”
During the trial, the jury witnessed some of the most harrowing evidence to come before a Scottish court.
Innes admitted killing Ms Burke and Jellica but denied murdering them and lodged a special defence of diminished responsibility.
On his arrest, when he asked where Ms Burke was, Innes told Pc Gavin Burns: “She’s under the kitchen floor.”
And, of the two-year-old’s whereabouts, he told Dc Hardie: “Under the floor with mum. I couldn’t look after a child. The child was screaming.”
Innes had claimed that Ms Burke lunged at him with a sushi knife and that killing her was an act of self-defence.
But this was not true, he admitted as he took to the witness box on the third day of his trial.
Instead, the court was told, he was “apocalyptically angry” as he hit her in the head repeatedly with a hammer before stabbing her with a samurai sword retrieved from his office.
The killing came as she was preparing food in the kitchen when, he said, and he thought she looked like a hybrid of his estranged wife and jilted lover.
In a pre-recorded interview with one of his victims, the girl he was found to have raped, she told how a hammer was used to kill Ms Burke.
The girl said Jellica was killed during a game of hide-and-seek, and told the interviewer she could not save them because “she didn’t know what was happening”.
She said Innes sexually abused the toddler, and described the repeated sexual assaults and rapes inflicted on her.
The girl told the court that after she was sexually assaulted she would be paid, and referred to “jobs” during the interview played to the jury in which she recounted her ordeal.
Innes denied the sex attacks when arrested and on March 5 told Detective Constable Paul Hardie: “I never touched the girl.”
But a jury found this to be a lie, having been presented with DNA evidence from items including handcuffs and clothing. From the outset of the trial they were told the girl had chlamydia, the same infection that Innes had.
Innes’ lies unravelled further when the evidence of his mental state at the time was discussed.
Dr Gordon Cowan, a psychiatrist, told the court Innes had changed his story multiple times when asked why he killed Ms Burke. At first it was acting in self-defence, then he heard voices, before Innes finally settled on his hybrid-vision story.
Dr Cowan said of Innes: “It’s clear he held resentment towards his ex-partners and this lady in front of him, in some way, reminded him of these ladies and he became angry, uncontrollably angry at her.”
And, Dr Cowan told jurors, there was a point where Innes felt he was psychotic when he killed Ms Burke and not when he killed Jellica, but he later said he had been psychotic during both killings.
He said he changed his description of events to suggest he was “wondering around like a zombie”.
Asked by Brian McConnachie KC, defending Innes, if his client’s behaviour could have been linked to steroid-induced psychosis, Dr Cowan pointed out that, prior to the killing, Innes had gone to B&Q, where he bought a hammer.
He told the court if someone had florid psychosis, suffering hallucinations and delusions to the point where they were killing people, they would not be doing their normal business without people noticing.
Innes claimed he was “insane as a result of the steroids” that he had been prescribed for his Crohn’s disease, but Dr Cowan said he did not believe the 52-year-old was impaired at the time he murdered Mr Burke, nor when he killed the toddler.
After he murdered them, with the toddler having been killed around three days after Ms Burke, he hid them below his kitchen floor at his home in Troon Avenue, Dundee.
But Innes told the court they were not buried in concrete, saying during his evidence: “I dug them a respectable grave and gave them a Christian burial and then replaced the floor,” he said. “That’s all I did.”
He also told the court of his attempted self-castration, negotiations with a potential “sexual playmate” and he railed against his estranged wife for cutting and dyeing her hair in a way he did not like.