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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Holly Evans

Predator who raped teenager Amber Gibson months before her brother killed her is jailed


A man who raped a teenager five months before she was killed by her brother has been jailed.

Jamie Starrs, 30, sexually assaulted 16-year-old Amber Gibson at a property in Bothwell, Lanarkshire, in June 2021 while she was asleep or unconscious.

He was also convicted of raping a second teenager two weeks before his attack on Amber. Jurors heard that he had been released on bail from Hamilton Sheriff Court following the first attack on 26 May, only to target Amber on 8 June.

Jamie Starrs has been jailed for over 10 years for raping Amber and another teenage girl
— (Police Scotland)

Over the course of the five-day trial, jurors heard crucial evidence from a statement Amber gave to officers before she was killed.

She said that she had met Starrs, who was a stranger to her, before heading to Bothwell where she was raped. At the time, she had been living in a supported accommodation unit in Blantyre.

She was able to identify her attacker after being shown a board of photographs. The other victim told the court that she had been raped by Starrs while she was drunk and unable to give consent.

Judge Thomas Welsh KC handed Starrs an extended sentence comprising 10 and a half years in custody and two years of supervision upon release at the High Court in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

Sentencing Starrs, who appeared via video link from custody, the judge said: “You have been convicted of appalling crimes against two innocent teenage girls and you have been assessed as being of very high risk of sexual violence on release.

“I am required to take into account your age and difficult upbringing – however, the crimes remain serious and grave, and I will impose an extended sentence.”

Connor Gibson sexually assaulted and strangled his sister Amber in a park
— (Police Scotland )

He said that he would have ordered 11 years to be served in custody but reduced this to 10 and a half years behind bars to take into account the time that Starrs has spent on remand.

The 20-year-old was also found guilty of a breach of bail conditions, and of attempting to pervert the course of justice. He has been placed on the sex offenders register indefinitely.

Five months later, Amber was sexually assaulted and strangled by her 20-year-old brother, Connor Gibson. Her naked body was discovered hidden in bushes and branches in Cadzow Glen on 28 November, with her clothes found nearby.

Gibson was arrested on December 1, the day after he posted a chilling tribute on Facebook saying: “Amber, you will fly high for the rest of time. We will all miss you. Especially me. I love you ginger midget. GBFN (goodbye for now) X”.

Amber was last seen on CCTV with her older brother in the hours before she was murdered
— (PA Media)

The trial at the High Court in Glasgow heard that both siblings had been fostered from the age of three and five by Craig Niven and his wife Carole. They were granted permanent care of the two, with Amber leaving their care in 2019 and Gibson remaining until he turned 18 years old.

Mr Niven told jurors that the siblings could not be left in each others’ company as they were “not a good mix”, and that Gibson had told him of an argument with Amber on the day she was killed.

Forensic evidence found “widespread blood staining” on Gibson’s jacket and his DNA was also found on her underwear, which had been “forcibly” torn off. He was found guilty of her murder and is due to be sentenced on September 4.

A second man, Stephen Corrigan, was also found guilty after he came across Amber’s naked body and inappropriately touched her and concealed her remains, rather than alerting the police.

Judge Lord Mulholland told Corrigan: "You came across a young girl who had been strangled to death and was naked.

"Instead of altering the authorities, you handled her body and your DNA told the story. Be under no illusion what is also coming your way."

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