Grieving son trashed Hawick hotel room

29-year-old Paul Gresham said the hotel room in Hawick was trashed due to his "falling all over the place" after drinking to excess following the murder of his mother.
29-year-old Paul Gresham said the hotel room in Hawick was trashed due to his "falling all over the place" after drinking to excess following the murder of his mother.

A grief-stricken son trashed a hotel room after turning to alcohol following the murder of his mother, Jedburgh Sheriff Court has been told.

Twenty-nine-year-old Paul Gresham was devastated when his mum Pauline Cockburn was shot by partner Kevin Armstrong, who then turned the gun on himself.

He immediately posted a message on Armstrong’s Facebook page saying he hoped he would “rot in hell”, and for months after the tragedy in December 2017, struggled to come to terms with it.

The court heard Gresham was “in a dark place at the time” when he checked into the Elm House Hotel in Hawick, on May 22 , 2018 as he had nowhere to stay.

He was staying in room 11, but Erin Illand, prosecuting, said staff discovered the door of room 12 had been forced and the room ransacked.

She explained how the television had been pulled from the wall, condiments spread all over the floor and drawers pulled out.

CCTV evidence located Gresham in the corridor area around the time when staff said the damage was done and his DNA was found on a drinking glass in room 12.

The hotel owners charged Gresham’s bank card £500 for the cost of the damage, which he did not challenge.

Defence lawyer Ed Hulme said that in December 2017 his client’s mother was murdered by her partner, who then killed himself. He explained how Gresham had nowhere permanent to stay last May and had been effectively “sofa surfing” when he decided to stay the night at the hotel in Hawick.

Mr Hulme said that Gresham did not deliberately vandalise the room. He had been drinking to excess at the time and he fell into the room against the door handle.

The rest of the damage was caused by him falling all over the place due to the amount of drink he had.

He added that Gresham now had his own tenancy in Coalmarket, Kelso, and was “in a better place now.”

Sheriff Mark Thorley imposed a fine of £320 to be paid at a rate of £40 a month.

The double death on Boxing Day , 2017, stunned the tight-knit community of Heiton, near Kelso.

Mother-of-three Pauline, 48, was employed as a carer and although she lived with Paul at an address in Kelso, would often stay with her long-term partner at Heiton.

But the couple are understood to have rowed before field sports enthusiast Armstrong shot Pauline before turning the gun on himself.