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Son killed mum then tried to hide body at home near Loch Ness

By Ali Morrison

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A son brutally killed his mother before hiding her body under a rug.

Neil Carmichael (34) attacked Morag Carmichael at the family home in Drumnadrochit on December 7 last year.

The 66-year-old – known in the local area for running a donkey sanctuary – was stabbed six times as well as suffering fractures to her skull, neck and cheekbones.

Carmichael later told his father Kenneth that Morag was dead.

Not believing his son, Kenneth desperately searched the house for his wife before making the grim discovery at the back door.

Carmichael had today faced a murder charge during a hearing at the High Court in Glasgow.

But, he was acquitted after prosecutors accepted he was not criminally responsible at the time due to a "drug-induced" mental disorder.

He will remain at the State Hospital in Carstairs meantime for treatment.

The court was told Carmichael, who had previously lived in Aberdeen and Glasgow, had returned to live with his parents a few years before the death.

He had lost his job as a hotel kitchen porter in September 2020 as a result of the pandemic.

His mood was latterly "up and down" with his parents urging him to see a doctor.

Carmichael had also become "pre-occupied" with the woodlands and wanting to sell woodcraft.

Prosecutor Lindsey Dalziel said: "He told his father that a friend had been visited who would show him how to become a millionaire overnight."

On the day of the killing, he was described as talking "gibberish".

Miss Dalziel said: "Kenneth spoke to Morag about him and his behaviour. He told her to tip toe around him."

Morag's friend then telephoned that morning for her, but it was a breathless Carmichael who picked up and stated "mum was in town".

The same friend later texted. Carmichael this time replied claiming Morag was "still out".

Around 3pm, Kenneth returned home and was approached by his son.

Miss Dalziel said: "He told his father that there was something that he needed to tell him.

"He said his mum was a gypsy witch and, that if she was not, then she would not be dead."

Kenneth insisted his wife was not dead but Carmichael replied: "She is."

The advocate depute said: "Kenneth thought something serious had happened and went around the house looking for Mrs Carmichael.

"He went into every room looking for her. He eventually found her under a rug just outside the back of the house and immediately dialled 999."

Police arrived and found Carmichael digging up ground with his hands.

Attempts were made to save Morag, but she never recovered.

After being held, Carmichael told officers: "I am not strong enough for this challenge yet. I knew it would happen. It is part of the game."

The murder charge stated Carmichael choked his mum and struck her repeatedly with ornaments, a baseball bat and a saucepan.

He was also said to have punched and kicked her, inflicted "blunt force injuries", dragged her as well as repeatedly striking her with knives.

A separate charge of attempting to defeat the ends of justice included the accusation he tried to bury Morag's body in the garden at the house.

The court was told Carmichael had been known to take drugs – cannabis, valium and amphetamine – since he was a teenager.

It was concluded, at the time of the killing, he was suffering from "drug-induced psychosis".

Judge Lord Doherty ordered Carmichael to remain at Carstairs on an interim compulsion order.

The case will call again in November in Edinburgh.

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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