The Aberdeen Law Projects Feature in the News

P & J


A group of students from Aberdeen University could help the family of murder victim Claire Morris change her headstone.

The students, who run a free law clinic, are investigating ways to help Peter Morris reclaim his sister’s grave so he can remove all mention of her killer from the tombstone.

Roderick Paisley, a professor in commercial property law, took the case to the students and will guide them as they examine ways of helping bring the family closure.

Malcolm Webster, who maintains Ms Morris died in an accident, currently owns the grave and has refused to hand it over to the family as he fears it could be seen as an admission of his guilt.

Aberdeenshire Council has been unable to help because of strict property laws.


Prof Paisley believes if they can have 52-year-old Webster – who has a reputation for spending money he does not have – declared bankrupt, the grave could be handed to the Morris family.

He said: “I definitely think we could be able to achieve something here. The students at the clinic know quite a bit, and will be trying to see if we can establish any debt Webster has outstanding.”

The professor said if there were any debts, Webster’s possessions would be given to his creditors which could turn out to be the Morris family if the young lawyers can prove he acquired an inheritance from the wife he killed.

Prof Paisley added: “The family may well be the creditors if there’s proof Webster inherited from his murdered wife, which would be unacceptable in Scot’s law.”

“If he has done that, and especially if he was the executor that divided up the estate, we could establish there’s a debt against him.”

“In these circumstances it would be appropriate to distribute the right of the burial ground to the family; nobody else has an interest in it.”

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The Press & Journal , Wednesday July 6 2011, page 7.

This story has also been covered by the Daily Record, Original 106FM and Radio Scotland.