Mhari O'Neill: Man admits to leaving girl, 15, to die so he could catch last train home

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A man has admitted killing a 15-year-old girl by plying her with alcohol and leaving her on a hill to die, while he went to get the last train home.

Ewan Fulton, 20, also engaged in sexual activity with Mhari O'Neill and bought her cigarettes on the December night in 2018.

Alex Prentice QC, prosecuting, said "love bites" were found on Mhari's body.

Fulton, who was 18 at the time, admitted culpable homicide at the High Court in Edinburgh on Monday.

He entered not guilty pleas to other charges, including unrelated sexual assaults and assaults, which were accepted by the crown.

The court heard Mhari and Fulton met up on Friday 7 December at Calton Hill, with Fulton purchasing vodka and cigarettes for the pair.

Fulton left Mhari partially undressed and unable to seek help - as he wanted to get to nearby Waverley station before the last train to his home in Livingston departed.

The charges laid against Fulton said he acted with "utter disregard" for Mhari's life.

The court heard the 15-year-old was abandoned in a remote location, and Fulton did not try to find help for her. He admitted culpably and recklessly putting her at risk of death by giving her the alcohol.

Mhari's body was found at the beauty spot in the morning by a dog walker.

A pathologist said her death was likely due to hypothermia, and intoxication played a role.

"Blunt force" injuries were also found on the 15-year-old's body, but these did not cause her death and may have been due to her stumbling.

The court also heard that following the incident, the defendant carried out internet searches about suicidal thoughts.

Fulton's lawyer, Shelagh McCall QC, said background reports would need to be done before he was sentenced.

Detective Inspector Susan Balfour, from Police Scotland, said: "This has been a distressing time for Mhari's family and our thoughts remain with them and her friends.

"We welcome the conviction of Ewan Fulton and hope it brings some comfort to Mhari's loved ones."

The case was adjourned until 17 June, and Fulton was remanded into custody.

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