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Daily Record
Daily Record
Grant McCabe & Jordan Shepherd

Scot who brutally murdered Asda worker wife with 11 hammer blows given life sentence

A husband who horrifically murdered his wife with a hammer received a life sentence. Peter Maher delivered at least 11 blows to Jeanna Maher at their home in Drumchapel, Glasgow on September 26 2018.

Jurors heard how two of their sons discovered the 51-year-old's trussed-up body in her bedroom. Supermarket worker Jeanna had previously suffered at the 61 year-old husband's violent hands.

Relatives and colleagues had pleaded with her to leave Maher, but the mum of three did not want to break up the family home. Maher was convicted on Tuesday of murder following a trial at the High Court in Glasgow. He had denied the killing insisting not to know who the culprit was.

The trial was mainly held in his absence due to his disruptive behaviour in court. Lord Mulholland ordered Maher to spend at least 24 years behind bars.

The judge said: "You subjected your wife to a sustained brutal attack - you assaulted her and when she tried to defend herself you bound her wrists, arms and ankles with ligatures. You subjected this poor woman to repeated hammer blows to the head at 11 times but probably more.

"The injuries you inflicted were not survivable - what you did was cruel and sadistic. You did nothing to help your left her to die having inflicted sadistic violence with an appalling catalogue of injuries.

"Your sentence is not the only life sentence as you have given your sons and your wife's family life sentences and grief - you will pay the heavy price for what you did."

The court heard how the couple had been married for around 30 years. Jeanna held down three different jobs to provide for her family while her layabout husband stayed at home.

The popular mum was known as "Mrs Asda" for the amount of hours she put in at the branch in Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire. Jeanna's sister told jurors how she was aware of the couple's effectively loveless marriage before her death.

Margaret McCandless, 69, added: "He would put her down constantly. He would tell her to sit down, shut up in front of people. She could not voice and opinion. She was not allowed to go out, she was stupid, too not do this, do not do that."

The court also heard of the physical abuse Maher meted out towards his wife. This included after raging Maher had once failed to get a job at the same supermarket.

Days later, Jeanna came into work with badly hurt. Colleague Angela McShane recalled: "Her eye was really black. I said: 'What happened?'.

"She said she had asked Peter for the remote, he had thrown it and hit her in the face."

The witness also spoke of Jeanna later having marks on her arms, but claimed she had done it while working in a chip shop. On the day of the murder, Jeanna had waiting for her landlords to visit to check out work needing done in her kitchen.

It was at the house her husband instead brutally murdered the mum. Son Stephen, 35, recalled making the grim discovery of Jeanna's body.

He told how he had finished work that night before him and younger brother Richard met to each cycle back home. It was their dad who answered the door when they arrived.

Prosecutor Steven Borthwick KC asked the witness: "How did he seem to you?"

He replied: "Same as any normal day."

Stephen said he went upstairs to run a bath and saw the door to his parents' room ajar. Pushing it open, he described it as an "absolute bombsite" with "everything everywhere".

Stephen recalled shouting downstairs asking where his mum was. His brother Richard also went into the room, pulled back covers before letting out a "gasp" or "scream" after finding Jeanna lying there.

Mr Borthwick asked Stephen: "What condition was she in?"

He told jurors: "Really bad. She was covered in blood. The top part of her skull was missing. Her hands were tied up, her feet were tied up."

Stephen believed Jeanna's hands were bound with a neck tie and possibly a wire for her feet. He immediately dialled 999 and told to try CPR.

Prosecutor Mr Borthwick asked the witness: "Did that have any effect?"

Stephen: "Zero. It would not have had any effect."

Maher later claimed to police he had been out that afternoon walking their dog. He stated he "did not know who was responsible" and "did not know anyone that would harm his wife".

Pathologist Marjorie Turner concluded Jeanna died from blunt force trauma to the head. In a post mortem report, Dr Turner noted: "The patter of head injury is indicative of multiple blows with a heavy blunt least 11 to the scalp alone, but probably many more."

Tony Graham, defending, told today/yesterday's hearing that Maher refused to give instruction for mitigation in relation to sentencing. The case against Maher had been protracted since he first appeared in the dock.

In 2019, he had been assessed as unfit to stand trial. But, prosecutors later re-raised proceedings against him and Maher went on trial in April 2022.

Maher went on to sack his then lawyers causing the case to be halted. The latest trial began in late January, but Maher was not in the dock for the majority of the hearing due to outbursts in the courtroom.

Lord Mulholland had ordered him to be returned to the cells. It was revealed that Maher has previous convictions for fraud, assault and robbery as well as road traffic matters.

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