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Daily Record
Daily Record
Rory Cassidy

Killer suspect David Yates had twisted Lord of the Rings double death fantasy

The heartbroken sister of murdered teacher Marelle Sturrock yesterday spoke of the family’s shock at her death. The pregnant 35-year-old’s body was found at her home in Jura Street, in the Craigton area of Glasgow, on Tuesday.

Police launched a hunt for her then-missing fiance David Yates, 36. His body was found in a reservoir two days ago.

Relatives of Marelle insisted the popular teacher was happy with Yates and that they were looking forward to being parents. Speaking of their shock at the brutal double death, sister Sarah Sturrock told well-wishers posting messages on her social media pages that she was struggling with it all.

She said: “I just can’t take this in. They were so happy. Marelle was looking forward to her baby.”

A police announcement of Yates’s death comes as we reveal he was a Lord of the Rings fanatic who nicknamed Marelle after a character who, chillingly, was involved in a doomed double death. The killer was also obsessed with swords from the famous fantasy novels.

Yates and Marelle (UGC)

It’s understood he nicknamed her “Luthien” – a Lord of the Rings character who chooses to die after her lover, Beren, is killed by a werewolf in the novels.

In a Facebook post, he wrote: “Big shout out to Marelle, my very own Luthien.”

The names Luthien and Beren also appear on the gravestone of Lord of the Rings’ author JRR Tolkien and his wife, Edith.

Friends have confirmed Yates had an obsession with swords from the Lord of the Rings fantasy novels.

On his social media, he posed with a Lord of the Rings sword he had been given as a present.

That prompted much-loved teacher Marelle to joke online that is what happens when she leaves him
“home alone”.

He named the couple’s dog Samwise Gamgee, a character in the book.

Yates also gained a big online following with his Lord of the Rings-themed podcast – titled Tol’ Tales: A Charity Reading of The Lord of the Rings – on Facebook.

A source said: “David absolutely loved Lord of the Rings and it was clear to see. He named his pet after a character from the books and films and he came up with a nickname for Marelle from the stories.

“Nobody really saw any problem with it but the fact that the Luthien character was involved in this strange double death is chilling.”

Yates was also a theatrical performer, starring in shows for Glasgow Music Theatre – a comedy film and various other amateur productions. He also played bass and sang lead vocals in metal band Nocturne Wulf.

However, he announced in a Facebook post in 2020 that he was quitting Nocturne Wulf to “focus on family”.

He told fans: “I’m afraid to say this will be my last post as a singer from Nocturne Wulf. I found that my heart just wasn’t in the band. I want a family more than I want to be in a band.”

Police discovered a body in the search for Yates at Mugdock Reservoir, near Glasgow, on Thursday.

Marelle, who was 29 weeks’ pregnant, was found dead two days earlier at home. Her unborn child did not survive. The investigation into her murder is ongoing and reports will be sent to the Procurator Fiscal.

Police are certain Yates killed her before later taking his own life.

Neighbours of the couple were also left in shock at the news of Marelle’s death, describing the pair as “lovely” and “always so happy”. Detectives probing the case confirmed Yates was the only person wanted in connection with Marelle’s murder.

He was well-known in his community for his love of singing and playing guitar.

The Record previously told how Marelle’s body was discovered after her worried colleagues from Sandwood Primary raised the alarm when she failed to show up for work.

Mum-to-be Marelle was originally from Wick, in Caithness, before moving to Glasgow at 17 to study performing arts. She and Yates lived with his parents in Bearsden, in the outskirts of Glasgow, for a number of years before moving into their home in the city’s south side.

The Record has attempted to speak to Yates’s family but they declined to comment. Police said they are supporting Marelle’s family.

Yates was fixated on swords from the fantasy tales (UGC)

Detective ­Superintendent Nicola Kilbane said: “Our thoughts are with Marelle’s family and friends, along with everyone affected by this tragedy. We are providing her family with specialist support at this incredibly difficult time.”

A further statement from the force yesterday confirmed the death of Yates.

A spokesperson said: “The body of a man recovered yesterday following searches of Mugdock Reservoir has now been formally identified as 36-year-old David Yates. His death is not being treated as suspicious.

“Yates was wanted in connection with the murder of his partner Marelle Sturrock. The 35-year-old was found dead at her home on Jura Street, Glasgow, on Tuesday, April 25, 2023.

“An investigation remains ongoing. However, there is nothing to suggest anyone else was involved in her death.”

The Crown Office and the Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) has, meanwhile, instructed Police Scotland’s Investigations and Review Commissioner to carry out an investigation into Marelle’s death.

A spokesperson for the Crown said: “Once our inquiries are complete, a report will be submitted to COPFS.”

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