Monday, February 6 in the Edinburgh High Court, a jury convicted Andrew Innes, 52, guilty of murdering Bennylyn Burke, 25, and her 2-year-old daughter, Jellica. He has been condemned to life in jail and will not be eligible for parole until he has served at least 36 years.
Innes struck Bennylyn in the head many times with a hammer and stabbed her with a sharp knife. Two days later, he strangled Jellica. On March 18, 2021, their remains were discovered buried in his kitchen under concrete.
Lord John Beckett, a judge of the Supreme Courts, stated to those in attendance, “These are among the most heinous offenses ever brought before the High Court of Justice.”
During the trial, Innes asserted diminished culpability due to the medicine he was prescribed after being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Crohn’s Disease. He stated that he murdered her “because I went mad from the steroids.”
His tale also evolved several times.
Bennylyn Aquino-Burke met Innes via an online dating service. On February 18, 2021, he traveled to Bristol, where the mother and girl resided, to transport them to his house in Dundee, almost 440 miles (713 kilometers) away.
Shela, Bennylyn’s sister, told the BBC that she met Innes through video call as he was transporting Bennylyn and Jellica to his house in Scotland for the weekend.
Shela chatted with Innes online after not hearing from Bennylyn for several days. Innes claimed to have driven Bennylyn and Jellica to Glasgow to meet another man. Additionally, he reassured Shela that her sister and niece were secure.
Innes was also convicted of sexually abusing Jellica and raping a girl aged seven.
“Losing a sibling, someone you love, is difficult. Do you know the feeling of being unable to sleep? That sense of longing for her? Life is irreplaceable; it cannot be purchased for money.” She told the BBC in an interview following Bennylyn’s death, “Your experiences with her, your friendship, I recall them…talking to her every day.” Shela had come to the United Kingdom during the height of pandemic lockdowns to recover the ashes of her sister and niece.
Shela recalled her sister in separate interviews with the BBC as follows: “She was nice. Nothing negative could be said about her.”
Benedicto, Bennylyn’s father, stated, “My daughter does not pick fights; she is nice, God-fearing, and kind.” He said of Innes, “Why do that to her? What a heinous act it was to murder an innocent youngster!”
In 2018, Bennylyn had met and wed Lexington Burke in the Philippines. The couple relocated to the United Kingdom with Jellica in August of 2019. However, the marriage terminated a few months later.
Bennylyn began working and remitting funds to her family.
Shela and Benedicto traveled to the court sessions from the Philippines.
Detective Chief Inspector Graham Smith of Police Scotland’s Major Investigation Team stated in a statement, “In over 30 years of policing, the level of depravity exhibited by Andrew Innes is well beyond anything I and my colleagues have ever experienced.” In addition to brutally murdering a young mother and an innocent kid, he attempted to evade prosecution by concealing their remains beneath his kitchen floor. He had no concern for human life or the agony he inflicted upon their loved ones.
“I’d want to conclude by thanking the family of Bennylyn and Jellica for the strength they’ve displayed during this horrifying tragedy, and I hope that this conviction will help offer them some kind of closure.”