Convicted murderer James Culinane in prison. He claims he is innocent.
Over the years there have been a number of terrible murders in the Irvine area. Unfortunately some of them have gone unsolved, meaning that the killers may still be at large today. 

This is an incomplete account that I hope to add to as my research progresses. Please feel free to add comments below about other Irvine murders that you feel should be included.


Four-year-old Sandy Davidson disappeared from his family's garden in St Kilda Bank in the Bourtreehill area of the town. 

On April 23rd, Sandy and his wee sister Donna (2 years old) had been left to play in their garden with their Afghan hound Kissie. When Kissie escaped from the garden Sandy went off in search of the dog. But only the dog came back.

When questioned, Donna said "A bad man took him away." The police surmised that Sandy had been driven off in a car.

A search could reveal nothing, and as the days turned into weeks, rumours began to circulate, one being that the gypsies had taken him, as there was a camp of gypsies near Irvine at the time. Who knows, maybe Sandy is still alive somewhere, but it seems unlikely.

Searching for Sandy in the rubble of newly built houses in Bourtreehill


22-year-old Patricia Black from Saltcoats disappeared on Friday, October 8th. She had been visiting Irvine and had phoned her mother around 5pm, saying she was going to get a bus home. That was the last that was heard of her. 

Again a massive search produced nothing, not even a body.

Over the years, theories emerged that Sandy or Patricia or both were the victims of some sick serial killer, like the notorious "Bible John." 

One theory was that Angus Sinclair, a double murderer and serial rapist was guilty. In 1961 he had been found guilty of murdering seven-year-old Catherine Reehill, as well as raping other kids. Strangely he was a free man in 1976, and would be charged with murder again in Edinburgh the next year but that case collapsed. 

Another suspect was serial killer Robert Black, who lived in Greenock at the time. He worked as a courier, driving all over the country, allowing him to find victims far from home. He was later sentenced to life for the murders of three girls - Susan Maxwell, Sarah Harper and Caroline Hogg.


On November 10th, Shona Stevens, a 31-year-old single mum was bludgeoned to death. The scene of the crime was again Bourtreehill. Shona lived in Alder Green, Middleton Park, with her mum Mhari Smith and seven-year-old daughter Candice Stevens. She had once lived in South Africa.

The murderous assault happened when Shona popped out to the shops. Walking down the path that ran along the back of her home, between 1pm and 1.30pm she was subjected to a frenzied eight-minute attack that left her unconscious, according to experts. 

Airlifted to hospital, she died three days later. Unable to live at the scene of the horrendous murder, her mum Mhari and daughter Candice moved away to Mhari's hometown in Skye.


William Stewart, aged 50, a barber in the Irvine Indoor Market, was killed by his partner Carol Stewart, 38. He was reported to be an alcoholic and she was a heroin addict. The couple, who lived in Fleming Terrace, often argued. 

On the day of the murder they started fighting in the kitchen. According to Carol, William grabbed her by the throat and she then tried to hit him with a kettle. Next she threw a coffee jar at him and then she grabbed a knife and stabbed him near the top of his left shoulder. This severed an artery that killed him. Carol then disappeared for a few days. 

She was sentenced to six and a half years for culpable homicide, a relatively light sentence in my opinion.


On April 15, 37-year-old Stephen Williamson was murdered by his flatmate James Cullinane at the home they shared at 204A Livingstone Terrace. 

Cullinane, a former telecommunications worker, had travelled the world with his job until 2005 when he was diagnosed with epilepsy and returned to Ayrshire. During the murder, there was a third person in the house by the unlikely name of Audrey Hepburn, who was a friend of one or both men. She testified against Cullinane, who claimed that she was in fact the murderer.

Getting into a fight, Cullinane repeatedly struck Williamson on the head and body with a knife and rammed items of clothing into his mouth and threatened to suffocate him. The fatal wound was a stab wound through the heart.

Cullinane was sentened to "life" imprisonment with at least 14 years behind bars before being eligible for parole, but still maintains his innocence.


on 26 June 2010, a group of around 30 teenagers, including Craig Kirkwood, aged 17, decided to celebrate the end of the school year by "camping out" on Irvine Beach. 

During the course of the evening the group came into conflict with a group of gypsies or "travellers" who had been living at an unofficial site nearby for more than a week. When some of the teenagers started shouting abuse at the gypsies during the early hours of the morning, one of the gypsies, Martin Stewart, 25, got into his pick-up van and drove at them, hitting Craig, who it was claimed had taken no part in the original disturbance.

Stewart later handed himself into police and was sentenced to an extremely light sentence of 
five years and three months. 


Stephen Broadfoot, 27,  a cousin of Rangers striker Kirk Broadfoot, killed Grant Muirhead, 33, his girlfriend's ex, with a knife on New Year's day. 

Broadfoot had been living with Aimee Dickie, 31, and her eight-year-old son, whose father was Mr Muirhead. On Boxing Day, Dickie and Broadfoot had quarrelled and fought physically. Hearing about this, Muirhead decided to confront Broadfoot and went to his address with one other man to back him up. 

When they arrived, Broadfoot went to the kitchen for a knife. During the resulting fight, Broadfoot repeatedly struck and stabbed Muirhead on the head and body, and then slashed his throat from ear to ear. He claimed self-defence.

He was sentened to "life" imprisonment with at least 14 years behind bars before being eligible for parole.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Errshurr Designed by Copyright © 2016 |

Powered by Blogger.