Jacob Foster Wiki
Jacob Foster Biography
Who is Jacob Foster?
Jacob Foster, 29, pushed charity worker Charmaine O’Donnell off Helensburgh Pier in Argyll and Bute on April 23 last year.
Charmaine, 25, suffered serious neck injuries and drowned.
Foster, who has a learning disability, was convicted today of manslaughter, a crime in which a person causes the death of another by acting unlawfully but with no intent to kill, following a trial at Glasgow High Court. He will be sentenced next month.
His legal team had filed a special defense of diminished liability after he was charged with his murder.
The court earlier heard that Charmaine, from Glasgow, had been enjoying a day out with her friend Caitlin McTaggart.
She told the jury: ‘I wanted to go to Campsies, where there is a waterfall. She said “no” because she would have ended up in the water. basically.
The couple had thought of traveling to Largs, Ayrshire, but decided to take the train to Helensburgh.
When the pair arrived, they struck up a conversation with some men fishing off the dock while Foster lurked nearby.
A group of youngsters had also been jumping into the water to swim at the time.
Caitlin told the court that she suddenly heard “commotion” because someone had jumped the pier railings.
She initially didn’t know who she was, but then she heard a person yell, ‘That’s your friend.’
She then peered out and, to her horror, saw Charmaine in the sea.
The court heard that the nearby youths in the vicinity tried to rescue her from her.
When she was asked if she had said anything to the defendant, her Caitlin said: “I was yelling at him to help her.” She kept saying, “What have I done? I’ve taken it too far this time. I’ll be gone for a long time.”
Police and paramedics responded to the scene, but Charmaine died a short time later.
Stephen Cairns, 42, was one of the men fishing off the pier when the incident occurred.
He told the court that Foster had pushed Charmaine over the edge ‘with both hands’, describing the scene as ‘chaos’ immediately afterwards.
A jury heard that PC Gary Davidson spoke to Foster on the dock when emergency services arrived at the scene.
He told the court: ‘He said it was an accident. He said: “I just pushed her. It was just a bit of fun.”
He said that he had some cans that day. I told him it was best to keep calm and not say anything, but he said these things over and over again.
The officer said that Foster had told him that he didn’t know that she couldn’t swim.
Foster’s lawyers had claimed that due to her mental health problems, she had misunderstood an alleged comment Charmaine had made about going in the water.
But in his closing remarks, Alex Prentice QC, a prosecutor, said there was “overwhelming” evidence Foster had pushed Charmaine, insisting it was “deliberate conduct”.
Sean Templeton, defending Foster, called for the defendant to be fully acquitted, adding: “It was a young man with learning difficulties who was wrong.”
Following the verdict, it emerged that Foster has a string of previous convictions, including assaulting a member of staff at a Costa coffee shop in Helensburgh in 2018.
Mr Prentice told the court that Charmaine had been on leave at the time from his job as an assistant manager at a British Heart Foundation store.
He was to return to the charity shop a week after his death.
The deputy solicitor said: “It is clear that she was greatly loved and her death has caused untold and continuing pain.” She was described as a caring and selfless person.
Lord Justice Fairley told the court that, in the “very unusual circumstances” of the case, he would remain on bail and defer sentencing for reports.
Foster, of Helensburgh, will be sentenced in September.