Killer of Bennylyn Burke and daughter branded 'truly evil' by family

Killer who murdered Bennylyn Burke and her daughter, two, before burying their bodies under his kitchen floor is branded ‘truly evil’ by her family

  • Andrew Innes stabbed and beat Ms Burke to death before strangling the toddler
  • Her sister says the killer, serving a life term, ‘deserves to pay for his sins’ 

The family of a Filipino woman and her daughter who were murdered by a twisted killer and buried beneath his kitchen have condemned their murderer as ‘truly evil’.

Andrew Innes, 53, stabbed and beat 25-year-old Bennylyn Burke to death with a hammer before strangling her daughter Jellica at his home in Dundee. He also sexually abused Jellica and raped another child.

He was handed a life term with a minimum term of 36 years in February this year for the crimes, carried out between February 20 and March 5 2021.

Ms Burke’s father, Benedicto Aquino, has told a new TV documentary about the slayings that he believes Innes deserved the death penalty for his ‘truly evil’ crimes while her sister Shela Aquino said he ‘deserves to pay for his sins’.

The pair, who travelled to Scotland to see Innes face justice, spoke out nine months after he began his jail sentence, and six months after an appeal against his conviction and sentence was refused.

Andrew Innes is serving a life sentence for the brutal murders of Bennylyn Burke and her daughter Jellica

Bennylyn Burke and Jellica (pictured) were found buried beneath his kitchen floor after he killed them both in the space of three days

Ms Burke’s father Benedicto Aquino (left) has told a new documentary series that he regards Innes as ‘truly evil’. Her sister Shela Aquino (right) says he ‘deserves to pay for his sins’

Andrew Innes buried Bennylyn Burke and Jellica underneath his kitchen floor after killing them both (Pictured: a police photograph of Innes’ kitchen)

The kitchen floor, where Innes buried the toddler and Ms Burke after the heinous killings

Twisted Innes had made up a bed for Jellica to sleep in within the living room of his Dundee home. He sexually abused her before strangling her during a game of hide and seek

Speaking on Crime+Investigation channel series DEAD2ME, Mr Aquino said: ‘It was the police in Scotland that told me my daughter and granddaughter had been murdered in Dundee.

‘It is the most distressing and painful thing to lose a granddaughter and daughter.

‘I couldn’t accept it – what did they do wrong? Why were they killed? It was just so harrowing and painful for all of us.

READ MORE: Murderer who strangled two-year-old girl and beat her mother to death with a hammer loses appeal against his conviction and life sentence 

‘The truth is all my family are devastated, beside ourselves with grief. We loved our child Bennylyn, we can’t say for sure how we are feeling right now except that we are filled with pain.’

Asked about his feelings for Innes, he added: ‘I do think he is truly evil because he killed my daughter who’s very kind and my granddaughter who was completely innocent. I don’t understand how someone could possibly do that to two innocent people, especially a small innocent child.

‘If you were to ask me, a life sentence is not enough because he took the lives of two people, he should be given the death penalty.’

Software programmer Innes, who worked at Dundee firms DMA Design and RealTime Worlds, had lured Ms Burke, originally from the Philippines, from Bristol to Dundee after targeting her through a dating website in February 2021.

She had previously married in 2018 but the marriage later broke down. After chatting with Innes, she made the decision to visit Scotland with Jellica – with Innes driving down to pick them up. They were reported missing two weeks later.

Ms Burke’s sister Shela Aquino said her sibling had been enjoying life in the UK and was looking forward to the future when she started talking to Innes online.

She said: ‘She was a very responsible person, especially to her family, and her child.

‘She always made sure that Jellica had something to eat, that she was safe and that she was in a good place all the time.

‘She was eventually given a place of her own. And she called me and told me that she was so happy. She said: “I feel really good, I can do this. I didn’t realise how good this feels, I feel free from all the hardships that I’ve been going through”.’

Bennylyn Burke and Jellica pose for a photograph outside Dundee’s Overgate shopping centre after being driven there by Andrew Innes in February 2021

Innes was also photographed outside the V&A Dundee museum and alongside the Discovery ship, in this photo released by Police Scotland

Andrew Innes is seen buying a hammer on CCTV at a B&Q in the days before the killings

Andrew Innes was pictured at B&Q on February 26 buying bags of concrete

Andrew Innes being led into court during his trial at the High Court in Edinburgh. Jurors took two and a half hours to convict him of two counts of murder

However, her happiness was short-lived: Innes lunged at her with a hammer as she prepared food in the kitchen, striking her multiple times in the head, before stabbing her with a samurai sword he retrieved from his office.

Around three days later, he then strangled Jellica during a game of hide and seek, according to statements given to police by the girl that he raped.

The girl told the court that Innes had paid her every time he sexually assaulted her; she also said that Jellica had been abused. 

Bennylyn Burke’s family’s statement outside court 

‘Bennylyn was the hope and light of our family. That light has been cruelly snuffed out.

‘Bennylyn had bright ideas and big dreams.

‘She bravely left home to seek a better future in a country far away. Instead, she found the worst cruelty we could ever imagine at the hands of someone she trusted.

‘We shall be forever haunted by what happened to her in this far off place such a long way from us, her family.

‘In the Philippines, poor families like ours very often have daughters and sisters who seek to fulfil their dreams for a better future abroad. Never do we imagine it will end in such terror and horror.

‘We cannot drive from our minds what happened to her and what happened to Jellica, or the fear they must have felt after experiencing violence from Andrew Innes.

‘A big part of our family has been torn from us.

‘We shall never see Bennylyn and Jellica again. We shall never know our beloved Jellica or ever see her grow up.

‘We pray for the child who suffered the cruelty of Andrew Innes.

‘We are happy that she is being cared for and recovering from her trauma.

‘Women and girls must be protected from predators like Andrew Innes.

‘There is nothing that can restore Bennylyn and Jellica to us.

‘But the jury’s guilty verdict for murder provides some comfort to our family and friends and brings justice for Bennylyn and Jellica.’

Police eventually knocked on Innes’ door after identifying that his car had been seen travelling to Bristol and back during lockdown, and took him into custody.

As he was being arrested, Innes was asked where Ms Burke and Jellica were. 

He replied: ‘She (Ms Burke) is under the kitchen floor. (Jellica is) under the floor with mum. I couldn’t look after a child. The child was screaming.’

The pair were buried beneath several feet of concrete inside rubble bags. Innes had sought to cover up the burial site with new kitchen tiles.

Reliving the moment she found out about the murders, Shela said: ‘I was so confused, I had so much pain in my heart when I learnt what had happened to them. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t think, I couldn’t do anything.

‘I couldn’t believe that it had happened. When the body was found we were still in doubt, so the police had to show us proof of DNA and whatever else, and when they sent the documents to me, it was only then that I really did believe.

‘The first thing I wanted to ask him was how could he have done that to such a kind and innocent baby? A normal person couldn’t have possibly done that to anyone. How could you kill people so easily?

‘He is evil. And he deserves to pay for his sins.’

She added: ‘I miss singing with Bennylyn. I miss doing karaoke with her. I miss going to the park with her. Just going for a walk. Or even to the mall. I miss all that so much.’

The killings, at Innes’ home in Troon Avenue in Dundee, shocked the country as evidence of his depraved and evil deeds came to light.

Chilling images shown to the jury, and released to the public following the conclusion of the trial, showed the makeshift bed Innes had created for Jellica in his living room and the hole in his kitchen floor where they had been buried.

The trial heard he had purchased a hammer and bags of cement at a local B&Q and later sought to claim that Ms Burke had momentarily reminded him of his ex-wife and another woman who had left him when he attacked her.

Innes also claimed that he was ‘insane’ as a result of taking prescribed steroids for his Crohn’s disease.  

Psychiatrist Dr Gordon Cowan, giving evidence at Innes’ trial, said the killer became ‘uncontrollably angry’ – and dismissed any notion that the killer had been mentally impaired at the time of the attacks.

Innes denied murder throughout the trial, instead lodging a special defence of diminished responsibility. But a jury took just two and a half hours to find him guilty of two counts of murder following a five day trial.

The jury also found him guilty of sexually assaulting Jellica, raping another child, and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Bennylyn Burke’s family say the 25-year-old had been the ‘light’ of their unit, but had been cruelly ‘snuffed out’

A statement from Ms Burke’s family read: ‘We shall never know our beloved Jellica or ever see her grow up’

Police set up a forensics tent outside Innes’ house in Troon Avenue, Dundee, after arresting the software developer

The investigation into the killings was intensive and ‘harrowing’, according to Police Scotland

Investigators later said that Innes’ depravity was ‘beyond anything’ they had ever witnessed

Ms Burke’s family, who travelled to Scotland from the Philippines to see Innes face justice, said in a heartbreaking statement following his conviction that she had been the ‘hope and light of our family…that light has been cruelly snuffed out.’

Detective Chief Inspector Graham Smith, of Police Scotland’s Major Investigation Team, said following the trial that the murders of Ms Burke and Jellica had ‘shocked and appalled us all’.

He added: ‘In almost 30 years of policing, the depravity shown by Andrew Innes was beyond anything I, or colleagues, had witnessed before.

‘Not only did he callously take the lives of a young mother and an innocent child, he then set out to escape justice by burying their bodies beneath his kitchen floor.

‘His actions showed no regard for human life, or for the suffering and anguish he brought to their loved ones.

‘I want to end by thanking Bennylyn and Jellica’s family for the courage they have shown throughout what has been an unimaginable ordeal and I hope that this conviction helps to bring them some degree of closure.’

  • The DEAD2ME episode featuring Innes’s case will be shown on Crime+Investigation at 9pm on Monday November 27.

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