Murder trial begins into Breakish death

A woman has gone on trial charged with murdering her husband on Skye.

Sandra Bruce (61) is accused of killing Norman Bruce at their home in Breakish in February last year.

She is alleged to have scratched, kicked, stamped and jumped on the 64-year-old former paramedic. Prosecutors claim Bruce also inflicted “blunt force injuries” by means unknown.

Bruce, now of Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire, denies the charge and has lodged a special defence of self defence.

Her late husband’s son Andrew Bruce was the first witness yesterday (Wednesday) at the High Court in Glasgow.

The 37-year-old – a police officer with the Civic Nuclear Constabulary – claimed Sandra Bruce attacked him during a visit to see his father on Skye in the 1990s.

The jury heard how Norman Bruce had initially lived with his family in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire. But he eventually set up home with Sandra Bruce on Skye.

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Police at the house where the Bruces lived

Prosecutor Andrew Brown QC asked the witness what his “feelings” at that time were towards the accused. Mr Bruce said: “I was upset because this was who my dad had left my mum for. I regarded her with suspicion.”

The court heard the witness Mr Bruce — then a teenager — wrote a letter to his dad in which he claimed he felt the accused was not a “good influence”. Mr Bruce and his sister went to visit their father in the early to mid 90s. It was during this stay that Bruce appeared “angry” about what was in the letter.

Mr Bruce told the court: “I felt quite threatened… I did not want to be there. I appealed to my dad that I wanted to go home.”

The witness claimed he tried to phone his own mum before eventually going to bed despite feeling “anxious”. It was there he said the door “burst open” and Bruce “jumped” on him before putting her hands around his neck.

Mr Bruce went on: “I just remember her shouting. I was shocked at how sudden the attack was.”

The trial heard Bruce was soon pulled away, but that she still appeared “angry”. Mr Bruce said that was the last time he visited his father on Skye.

Brian McConnachie QC, defending, later put to Mr Bruce that he had been “pre-disposed” not to like the accused. Mr McConnachie added: “She had taken your dad away?” Mr Bruce replied: “Yes.”

As well as the murder, Bruce is accused of assaulting Andrew Bruce at the same property on Skye between 1992 and 1995. She faces a separate allegation of assaulting her husband between 1991 and 2014.

Bruce — who also uses the names Fraser and Anderson — also denies those allegations.

The trial, before Judge Lord Armstrong, continues.