Heiton deaths: Pauline was murdered, police confirm

Ladyrig View, Heiton.
Ladyrig View, Heiton.

The tragic events that shocked a small, sleepy Borders village on Boxing Day are beginning to come to light.

The grisly discovery of the bodies of a 48-year-old woman and a 53-year-old male in a house in Ladyrig View, Heiton, at 3pm on Tuesday, December 26, started a large police inquiry as to the circumstances of their deaths.

Tragic couple Pauline Cockburn and Kevin Armstrong, whose bodies were found in a house in Heiton on Boxing Day,

Tragic couple Pauline Cockburn and Kevin Armstrong, whose bodies were found in a house in Heiton on Boxing Day,

Police have now confirmed that the woman was, as previously reported, Pauline Cockburn. A post mortem examination has been carried out and her death is being treated as murder.

Formal identification has yet to take place in respect of the man who was also found in the house, although he has been named locally as Pauline’s partner, Kevin Armstrong. A post mortem examination has been carried out and his death is not deemed to be suspicious.

It has been reported elsewhere that Mr Armstrong killed his partner before shooting himself, but that has not been confirmed by police.

However, the police have reiterated that no-one else is being sought in connection with the two deaths.

Detective Chief Inspector Keith Hardie of the major investigation team, who is leading the investigation, said: “Pauline was tragically taken from her family and friends at what should be a happy and joyous time of year.

“I can only imagine that the circumstances make this even more heartbreaking and my thoughts are with them as they try to come to terms with their loss. Our investigation into her death is ongoing and, whilst we are not looking for anyone else, there are still lines of inquiry to follow up to ensure we know as much as we can about what happened.

“This incident has put a small, quiet area of the Borders in the spotlight and I would respectfully request that the families and friends of those involved, and the local communities, can be given the time and the space to be able to grieve and remember.”

Superintendent Jim Royan added: “This is a small, close-knit community on the outskirts of Kelso, and we recognise the impact that the deaths and our ongoing investigation is having.”

Pauline, who was a carer at SB Cares, had three children.

One of them, her son Paul Gresham, was reported in daily newspapers as posting an angry message on Mr Armstrong’s page after the deaths, saying ‘Kevin Armstrong, rot in hell.’ He has since deleted his post.

Friends and family of the couple have posted comments on social media, urging people not to jump to conclusions.

Mr Armstrong’s brother Tommy, of Kelso, wrote: “Not the Christmas I expected, in shock still. After a horrible incident, two people have lost their lives. I don’t know what happened, but I do know there are kids out there that have lost their mummy and dad, and we should be thinking of them and their families at this sad time.

“Rest in peace to you both.”

And on our Facebook post, Tessi Henderson wrote: “You’re all too quick to react to what happened and criticise Kev. No one will ever know what happened or what went on. Spare a thought for the kids and family that are left to cope with the aftermath of a tragic accident ... my thoughts are with them.”

Anyone with information that could assist the inquiry should contact the major investigation team on 101, quoting incident 2012 of December 26, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.