A 29-year-old man has been found guilty of killing a 25-year-old woman, after pushing her off Helensburgh Pier in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. Jacob Foster, who has a learning disability, is reported to have told a police officer shortly after the attack that "it was just a bit of a fun" and that he did not foresee the charity worker would come to any harm.
In reality, Charmaine O'Donnell, a charity worker, suffered from neck injuries after the fall and drowned. Foster has since been convicted of culpable homicide, following a special defence of diminished responsibility put forward by his legal team.
O'Donnell had been at the pier with her friend, Caitlin McTaggart, on 23 April 2021, when they began chatting to three men who were fishing. It's said that Foster then tried to get involved with the chat. McTaggart told the court that she initially didn't realise what was going on but that she heard a "commotion", someone shout that a person had been pushed over the railings and that a voice then said, "That's your pal!" (according to The Guardian).
When questioned during the trial, McTaggart was asked if she said anything to Foster, to which she replied: "I was screaming at him to help her. He just kept saying 'What have I done? I have taken it too far this time. I am going away for a long time'."
She then quickly called 999 and the police shortly arrived on the scene.
PC Gary Davidson told jurors that Foster had quickly confessed to pushing O'Donnell and added that he'd drunk alcohol earlier that day. "He said that it was an accident. He said 'I just pushed her. It was just a bit of fun'. He said that he had a few cans that day."
O'Donnell's mother, Jacqueline Gallacher and step-dad, William King, told the BBC that losing her has been the 'most difficult time' of their lives. "Losing Charmaine has changed our lives for ever. We will never be the same again. Our hearts have been broken. She had her whole life ahead of her. She had a great personality and sense of humour, warming the hearts of all who met her."
Our thoughts are will all of Charmaine's friends and family during this very sad time.
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