Monday, 10 October 2016


The latest trial of Ronnie Coulter was told how he bragged about the crime after being cleared the first time.


Ronnie Coulter arrives at court for his murder trial
Image Caption:Ronnie Coulter was originally cleared of the murder
A man who boasted he had committed the "perfect murder" has been found guilty more than 17 years after the offence.
Ronnie Coulter was convicted after being tried a second time for killing waiter Surjit Singh Chhokar as he returned from work in Wishaw, Lanarkshire, on 4 November 1998.
Mr Chhokar's partner Elizabeth Bryce had told the court how blood "flew out" of the victim when he collapsed after telling her "they've stabbed me".
Giving evidence, she said she ran outside when she saw him being attacked in front of her home in Garrion Street, Overtown.
Ms Bryce sobbed as she told how three men, who she identified as Ronnie Coulter, his nephew Andrew Coulter and David Montgomery, left the scene and Mr Chhokar told her he had been stabbed.
She said: "He walked up to his car and he had his arms on top of the car and he put his head on his hands. The next thing I heard a horrible noise.
"The blood just flew out of him and he just fell. He flopped down and fell on the ground.
"I just didn't believe it - he was dead."

Surjit Singh Chhokar
Image Caption:Surjit Singh Chhokar was 32 when he was murdered
The jury took around 10 hours over three days to find Coulter, of Overtown, Wishaw guilty following a four-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow. He will be sentenced on 31 October. 
The 48-year-old was cleared of the murder at his original trial but was brought back before a jury under double jeopardy laws.
Andrew Coulter and Montgomery, were also tried for the murder in 2000, but both were acquitted.  
Andrew Coulter had stolen a £100 giro cheque and a cooker from Mr Chhokar before the 32-year-old was stabbed to death.
Andrew Coulter stabbed another man to death 10 months after Mr Chhokar's death, while he was on bail.

The scene in Garrion Street, Overtown, where Surjit Singh Chhokar was attacked
Image Caption:The scene in Garrion Street, Overtown, where Surjit Singh Chhokar was attacked
The latest trial of Ronnie Coulter was told how he bragged about the crime after being cleared the first time.
His sister, Margaret Chisholm, said he had confessed to her after coming to her house following his acquittal.  
She told the court: "He was sitting on the floor in the living room leaning against a radiator.
"He said 'I've just got away with the perfect murder'."
His former sister-in-law, Noreen McPolland, was asked: "Did Ronnie Coulter ever say anything about the death of Surjit Singh Chhokar?" 
She replied: "He said 'I stabbed him. I stabbed the P*** bastard'."

The family of murder victim Surjit Singh Chhokar arrive at court for the trial of Ronnie Coulter
Image Caption:Mr Chhokar's family arriving at the court
It is a notorious case which laid bare flaws in Scotland's prosecution system.
Separate inquiries found inadequacies in the prosecution process and institutional racism in the way that victims of crime and ethnic minorities were treated by the system.
Outside court, Detective Chief Superintendent Clark Cuzen praised the strength of the Chhokar family.
He said: "It is important to recognise the tireless campaigning for justice over the years by the Chhokar family and their lawyer, Aamer Anwar. I hope they can take some comfort from today's verdict."
He added: "Whilst we were unable to find evidence of racial motivation at the time of the murder, there was evidence to support the fact that Ronnie Coulter described Surjit using racist terms when confessing to the murder."