Andrew Innes jailed for at least 36 years for murdering Bennylyn Burke and her two-year-old daughter

A man has been jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of 36 years after he was found guilty of murdering a woman and her two-year-old daughter and burying their bodies under his kitchen floor.

Andrew Innes, 52, admitted killing Bennylyn Burke, 25, and toddler Jellica but had denied murder and instead lodged a special defence of lacking criminal responsibility and diminished responsibility.

He was also found guilty of sexually assaulting Jellica, 2, raping a primary-school aged child and attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

On Monday, Judge Lord Beckett told the jury at Edinburgh High Court that they were "bound to find the accused guilty of murder".

It comes after the judge ruled there was insufficient evidence to support the defence that medication had caused Innes to suffer steroid-induced psychosis which led to him going "insane".

Sentencing Innes, Lord Beckett stated the charges were "amongst the very worst crimes which have come before the High Court".

He stated: "You murdered an innocent woman and her two-year-old daughter in a situation where they had trusted you and travelled with you from Bristol to your home in Dundee."

Lord Beckett added that the young rape victim now does not trust men, is scared of blood and always looks for an escape route.

Innes admitted hitting Ms Burke on the head with a hammer. He then stabbed her with a samurai sword before bludgeoning her with the handle of the blade and the hammer.

He also admitted asphyxiating Jellica before burying both bodies under the kitchen floor of his house in Dundee.

In a statement issued via the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, Ms Burke and Jellica's family said: "Bennylyn was the hope and light of our family. That light has been cruelly snuffed out."

They added: "We cannot drive from our minds what happened to her and what happened to Jellica, or the fear they must have felt after experiencing violence from Andrew Innes.

"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.

"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."

Ms Burke, originally from the Philippines, moved to Bristol a few years ago and met Innes via an online dating site.

Innes travelled to Bristol to meet Ms Burke in February 2021 before returning to Dundee the following day with both Ms Burke and Jellica for the weekend.

'I was apocalyptically angry'

He claimed when Ms Burke was in his kitchen cooking, he thought she looked like a "hybrid" of his estranged wife and another former partner.

Innes said he "thought of all the nasty stuff" his wife had allegedly done and said the other woman "left him in the most horrible way".

"I was apocalyptically angry," he said.

It was then he launched his attack, hitting Ms Burke on the back of the head with a hammer.

'I was insane as a result of the steroids'

During questioning by defence lawyer Brian McConnachie KC, Innes claimed he killed Jellica two or three days after Ms Burke.

He said the toddler wanted her mother, adding that it "seemed logical to me to put her with her mum".

Asked why he killed Jellica, he replied: "Because I was insane as a result of the steroids."

The jury had been told that Innes was taking steroid medication for a condition and had not slept at the time of the deaths.

Innes denied the killings had been premeditated.

He described the hammer as "not a useful weapon", adding: "If this was premeditated in any way it would have been way cleaner."

The crimes took place at Innes's house in Troon Avenue, Dundee, between 20 February and 5 March 2021.

Read more:
Sister of woman, who was murdered and buried under kitchen, says she can 'forgive' killer
Toddler 'killed during game of hide and seek', court hears
Andrew Innes told police officer: 'She's under the floor'

'It's absolutely horrific'

Detective Chief Inspector Graham Smith, of Police Scotland's Major Investigation Team, agreed with the National Crime Agency that it was a "once in a generation crime".

He told Sky News: "That crime scene and the trauma that was involved in that crime scene is probably a one-off, I'd certainly like to think it's a one-off."

Speaking of Innes, DCI Smith said: "The depravity that he's shown is unimaginable, it's absolutely horrific."

The painstaking excavation work in Innes's kitchen involved "meticulous planning" with assistance from forensic, archaeology, anthropology and geology experts.

DCI Smith said: "It took a period of six days' work for them to go into that house knowing what they were looking for and what they would eventually recover. To this day some officers are still struggling with that and it's certainly an inquiry that I and the inquiry team will never forget."

Once arrested, investigating officers said Innes showed "no remorse" and "wallowed in self-pity".

DCI Smith said he didn't want to focus on Innes and instead praised the courage of the victims' families.

He said: "Credit needs to go to them for the strength they've shown through all this, and I hope this conviction brings them some closure."